Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone and at any time, regardless of age or physical fitness.
It’s a severe medical emergency that requires instant response and actions to save a casualty’s life.
With the availability and proper use of AEDs, the chances of survival have significantly improved, as they can help in quickly detecting and treating irregular heart rhythms.
Automatic External Defibrillator or AED is a life-saving device that delivers an electric shock to a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Having a thorough understanding of how to use this device is essential, as it can make a big difference between the life and death of someone suffering from cardiac arrest.
However, using an AED requires proper Defibrillator training and knowledge of its essential components and functions.
This blog post aims to provide readers with an understanding of what an AED is, how it works, and the steps involved in using it safely and effectively.
Understanding the Basics of an AED
An AED is a portable electronic device that detects irregular heartbeats and treats them through defibrillation. Defibrillation delivers electric shocks to the heart that helps it return to its normal rhythm.
Before going into more depth about how to use an AED, let us first understand the basics.
An AED has three main components:
The battery provides power to the device, and the electrodes are adhesive pads placed on the victim’s chest. The computer in the AED analyzes the heart rhythm and determines whether a shock is needed.
There are two types of AEDs – fully automatic and semi-automatic. The fully automatic AED analyzes the heart rhythm and delivers a shock if necessary. While semi-automatic AED requires the user to press a button to provide the shock.
When to Use an AED
Cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly stops beating and the person becomes unconscious. The victim may stop breathing, and their pulse may be weak or non-existent. Therefore, identifying the signs of cardiac arrest before using an AED is crucial.
If you notice someone showing signs of cardiac arrest, the first step is to call emergency services. After calling for help, you should provide immediate assistance by administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breaths to help circulate oxygenated blood to the body’s vital organs.
While performing CPR, if an AED is available, it’s essential to use it immediately. Every minute that passes without defibrillation decreases the chances of survival by 7-10%. If the casualty has access to an AED, the chances of survival increase significantly.
How to Use an AED
Turn on the AED – Most AEDs have an on/off button. Using an AED is easy, and anyone can use it with the proper training, however, getting training to use it effectively is recommended.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use an AED:
Attach the pads: Remove the backing from the adhesive pads and place them on the victim’s bare chest. Place one pad on the upper right side of the chest while the other on the lower left side.
Analyze the heart rhythm: Once the pads are attached, the AED will start analyzing the heart rhythm to determine whether a shock is required. It’s crucial to ensure that no one touches the victim or the pads during this process.
Deliver the shock: If the AED determines a shock is necessary, it will instruct the user to press a button to deliver it. It is important to note that no one should touch the victim or the pads during this process.
Resume CPR – After delivering the shock, immediately resume CPR, starting with chest compressions.
Safety Precautions When Using an AED
There are several safety precautions to remember when using an AED.
First and foremost, no one should touch the casualty or the pads during the analysis and shock delivery process.
It is also important to ensure the device is used effectively and safely when using an AED to implement proper safety precautions.
It is also essential to guarantee that the victim and the surroundings are dry, as water can conduct electricity and affect the device’s performance.
Additionally, it’s vital to remove any metal objects from the victim’s chest, including jewelry and clothing with metal buttons or zippers, as they can interfere with the AED’s performance.
Side Effects of Using an AED
Using an AED can have some side effects as well such as burns, bruises, or soreness on the victim’s chest where the pads were attached. However, these side effects are generally minor and don’t cause any lasting harm to the victim.
Handling an AED device
When handling an AED, it’s essential to be watchful and follow proper protocols. Avoid dropping or subjecting the device to any impact, as this can damage the device and affect its performance.
It is recommended to store the device in a secure location that is easily accessible in an emergency.
Maintenance of AED
Ensuring the proper functioning of an AED is essential to save lives during cardiac arrest emergencies. This requires to have routine maintenance and regular device testing to ensure it is in good working condition.
Checking the pads’ battery life and expiration date regularly is also vital to ensure their proper working.
Additionally, testing the device’s functionality once a month and replacing the pads and batteries when expired or used is recommended.
In conclusion, AEDs are crucial in saving lives during cardiac arrest emergencies. Knowing how to use an AED can make a significant difference in the victim’s chances of survival. Taking proper training and certification courses is essential to gain the knowledge and skills required to use an AED effectively and safely.
Alongside this, ensuring the proper maintenance and testing of the device can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation. With good care and maintenance, AEDs can continue saving lives for years.