Q. Electric shock is used to start hearts that have stopped beating. In a pinch would it be possible to start a heart using a stun gun?

A. Doctors use defibrillators to shock a heart out of a life-threatening rhythm. A stun gun is NO substitute for a defibrillator! We consulted two cardiologists who both said this would not work and is a very bad idea.

If you are concerned about needing a defibrillator “in a pinch,” you can purchase an AED (automated external defibrillator). These home models detect life-threatening heart rhythms and use an electrical shock to restart the heart. They usually cost between $1200 and $1700. AEDs are sometimes found in airports and other public spaces.

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