- Sudden death is a major public hazard and is usually caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF). Although in the majority of cases witnesses are to be found, resuscitation efforts are begun only in a minority of victims. The only treatment for VF is electrical shock and the time from collapse to resuscitation and defibrillation determine prognosis. Automated external defibrillator (AED) is a new device capable of effectively identifying and treating VF. It is unique in the sense that it can be operated by a non-medical operator following short training. Recent evidence of the survival benefit of AED utility is emerging. During the coming years, AEDs will be introduced to a growing number of hospitals and public places. This review summarizes the rationale for use, advantages, and disadvantages as well as the current status of AEDs and recommendations for placement of AEDs in Israel.