Should You Buy a Home Defibrillator?

Do you or your loved one have a heart problem? If so, you may want to have a defibrillator for home use. Nearly 6.2 million adults have heart failure, which accounts for more than 13 percent of deaths each year.

By having a home defibrillator, you are protecting you or your loved one from an unthinkable situation when the heart stops working properly. Learn more about getting a defibrillator and how to prepare.

What Is a Defibrillator?

A defibrillator treats life-threatening situations when the heart rhythm needs an electric shock to return to a normal heartbeat. This device can save a life. 

The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is an electronic device that notifies users when a shock is necessary. AEDs for home can also detect irregularities and check heart rate.

Who Should Buy a Home Defibrillator?

When someone has a heart attack, some heart muscle cells die, and scar tissue forms. The scar tissue affects the heart’s electrical signals. These changes can increase your risk for sudden cardiac arrest. 

Sudden cardiac arrest typically happens to people that have some form of coronary heart disease, where plaque builds up in the heart’s arteries. When you suffer cardiac arrest, your heart stops functioning. If it is not treated immediately, you can die.

If you have any of these other risk factors for cardiac arrest, you should consider a defibrillator:

  • Family or personal history of sudden disorders that give you arrhythmias like ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation
  • History of cardiac arrhythmias
  • Heart failure episodes
  • Heart attacks
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

If any of these health concerns are relevant, you should consider an AED for your home. 

Where to Buy Defibrillators

You may need a prescription from a physician. This is more in relation to routine maintenance oversight, and so local emergency medical service knows about the type and location of the AED. 

There are some you can purchase without a prescription such as the Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator, which costs about $1,200 at places like Amazon or Walmart. It is considered over-the-counter and has step-by-step voice instructions to help guide you through using it.

The American Heart Association says that AEDs are generally safe and easy to use by those trained to operate them.

Getting Proper Training

Most AEDs have safety features that let users handle them safely in an emergency. The user must turn the device on and follow the voice instructions as prompted. After the electrode pads are attached to a person’s chest, the computer will analyze the heart rhythm and determine the appropriate shock if needed.

It’s best to talk to your doctor about using this equipment and develop an emergency plan. Make sure you determine the best location in your home and find more defibrillator mounts if needed.

You should also undergo training for CPR, which should be initiated immediately upon discovering a sudden cardiac arrest victim. 

Put Your Mind at Ease

No one wants to think about a heart condition turning into heart failure while at home. Having a home defibrillator can help put your mind at ease. Just make sure you talk to your doctor first and learn how to use it properly along with learning CPR for the first response.

Looking for more tips on staying healthy? Check out our Health section to learn more about protecting your heart and health.