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Glossary of Terms

AED Brands has compiled a glossary of common automated external defibrillator (AED) terms to help you further your education about what AEDs are and what is a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). ​Please search now.

A - C D - K L - R S - Z #

This reference list is by not an encyclopedia of AED terms but it should give you a good place in which to begin.
  • For example, you may need more education on Advance Cardiac Life Support (ALCS). Clicking on the A-C link will lead you to an entry that tells you that ALCS is also known as ALS and that it is complex medical treatment administered to victims of life threatening conditions, including sudden cardiac arrest. Advance Cardiac Life Support is provided by professionals in the health care industry such as doctors, EMTs, and nurses.

  • If you need to reference information about what the American Heart Association is or does, clicking on the A-C link will enable you to find out that it is a non-profit group whose goal is to create standards of care for victims of cardiac problems. You will also be able to click on links that will take you to related terms like Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Chain of Survival; both of which are important terms relating to sudden cardiac arrest.

  • If you’ve come to the AED Brands web site not knowing what Sudden Cardiac Arrest is, there is no need to find an encyclopedia to educate yourself. Clicking on S-Z will take you to a link that will enable you to reference a page full of great information about what SCA is (an electrical disturbance in the heart), what it is not (a heart attack), how it is treated (with an automated external defibrillator) and other heart health topics.

Approximately 400,000 Americans each year suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. Many of these SCA victims die because help either doesn’t arrive quickly enough or because help arrives in time but there is no automated external defibrillator available. AEDs are the only treatment that can stop SCA from resulting in sudden cardiac death. CPR can help by keeping the blood and oxygen flowing through the victim’s body, but the only thing that can get the victim’s heart out of ventricular fibrillation (the electrical disturbance in the heart that causes it to beat erratically or causes it to cease beating altogether) is a shock delivered by an AED. The shock must be administered within a three to five minute window because after that the chances of the victim surviving drop ten percent for each minute that passes. Within ten minutes, the chances that a sudden cardiac arrest victim survives are practically zero. Education about AEDs and SCA is vitally important.

It’s also important to know that SCA does not discriminate when it comes to victims. It can strike the young and old and anyone in between. It can strike the healthy and the unhealthy, and, it generally comes with no warning signs. One minute the victim can be conversing with a friend, and the next minute he or she can be collapsed on the floor and not breathing.

AED Brands wants to make sure that the number of SCA victims who die each year continues to drop. That’s why our goal is not only to educate but to make available the tools needed to treat this deadly medical emergency. We encourage you to read through our Glossary of Common AED Terms and use it as a reference guide or as a simple encyclopedia that will help you understand and enhance your education about automated external defibrillators and sudden cardiac arrest. Together we can make a difference!


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Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

The sudden, unexpected loss of the heart function, resulting in the loss of effective blood flow. SCA is usually caused by an electrical disturbance in the heart.  If left untreated by defibrillation, SCA results in death.


Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

A life-saving device that treats sudden cardiac arrest.  Once the AED pads are applied, the device analyzes the victim's heart rhythm.  If it detects a rhythm that can be treated, it allows a shock to be delivered to the victim to regain a normal heart rhythm. AEDs have become common anywhere people gather.


Chain of Survival

A four-step process for treating victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). When implemented early in a cardiac event, the chain of survival can improve chances of survival dramatically. Developed by The American Heart Association in 1990, the Chain of Survival has become the standard of care for cardiac victims. The four steps in the process are :

  1. Early Access - contacting 911
  2. Early CPR - administering CPR
  3. Early Defibrillation - apply an AED
  4. Early Advanced Care - Engaging professional responders.

Good Samaritan Protection

Immunity protection provided by each state government and the Federal government to encourage lay responders to treat a victim of sudden cardiac arrest with an AED and CPR. This protection protects a responder from being held liable in any action or inaction taken.


Long QT Syndrome

An inherited defect of the rhythm of the heart.  The QT segment of the heart beat is slightly longer than normal, so the heart takes longer to recharge itself between beats. Symptoms may include sudden fainting spells, dizziness, and heart palpitations.  Physical activity can make the symptoms occur, especially stop-and-go activity such as basketball. Sudden cardiac arrest can result from long AT syndrome.