The History of AEDs: Look How Far We Have Come!

While we can talk all about the advancements being made in defibrillation and AED development—and there’s plenty to talk about there—it’s worth taking a second to reflect on just how far we’ve come. Here is a little bit of AED history.

So, where did we begin?

For centuries, scientists and doctors were relentless in answering a complex medical question: can the heart be restarted by electricity? They knew that when the heart stopped, a person or animal faced fatality, so if that could be prevented, perhaps so, too, could death itself.

The earliest experiments began in 1775, when Danish physician Peter Christian Abildgaard proved that the hearts of chickens could be restarted by electricity. That medical conclusion paved the way to decades more of testing and evidence.

Modernizing electricity

But electricity itself had to be modernized. And that came in the late 1800s, and early 1900s, which we know as the Industrial Revolution. Having a stable source of electricity became a way of life, especially with the invention of the light bulb.

In 1928, William Bennett Kouwenhoven, an American electrical engineer who would later create CPR, applied then-modern electrical appliances to the medical concept of restarting hearts.

And thus, the defibrillator was born.

The first life was saved by defibrillation in 1947

It was a young 14-year-old girl during a surgical procedure. Since then, the defibrillator was improved upon, and modified, which soon led to the AED, a portable version of this life-saving machine.

Now, what was considered revolutionary is now a staple of any modern workplace, saving countless lives in the process.

At Coro Medical, we are grateful for the continuous innovation of AED technology and offer only the latest tools and features to meet your needs and particular situation. For more information on AEDs and defibrillation development, call us toll-free at 1-800-695-1209 today to speak with one of our AED specialists!


  • Electronic Design. “A Chronology Of The AED’s Development.” Electronic Design. 16 October 2018.

Blog By Blaire CzarnieckiWritten by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director

Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C

Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.

“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”

Last updated October 16, 2018

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