Defibrillator use can help those who have a cardiac arrest and are easier to use. Nearly quarter of a million people die from cardiac arrest each year in the United States. Many lives could be saved if prompt action is taken to restart the heart, using an automated electrical defibrillator (AED), a device which delivers an electric shock to the heart muscle. There are moves to put more AED's in public places, like shopping malls, and to train staff to use them.
But most cardiac arrests occur in the home. Researchers in the Public Health services in Seattle, Washington, have shown that domestic AED use is also quite feasible. They found that older people could readily be trained in AED use without any other aids.
However, periodic re-training in the skill would also be needed, they say, to ensure prompt action in the case of cardiac arrest. It could be that the AED may one day soon be as common a feature of the home as the personal computer.