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Important Guide on Automated External Defibrillator(AED)

AED-1

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portal device for lay responders or medical healthcare providers to save a life during cardiac arrest. A Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone. That’s when AED is most useful to deliver an electric shock to restart the heart. So, here is an insightful and important guide on Automated External Defibrillators that will serve as a handy reference for a trained as well as a non-trained individual. 

Anyone with a CPR/AED certification can use the device to save a life. An AED helps to restart the heartbeat of the victims of SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest). This improves their chances of extending their life before paramedics arrive with advanced medical help. Let’s dive deeper into understanding the importance of an AED.

What is an AED?

A heart attack converts into a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) when different body parts fail to receive the blood from the heart. Here is when a defibrillator is used to restore the heart’s rhythm and AED is used in situations like SCA, breathing abnormalities, or near drowning. An AED is a portable and compact device that acts as a catalyst in reviving an SCA patient by regulating the heartbeat again. 

AED swiftly detects if the person has an irregular heart rhythm and if an electric shock is needed for treatment. If the AED determines that an electric shock is needed, it administers through the chest wall to the heart, which re-regulates the heartbeat. AED has audio and visual prompts to guide the Emergency first-responder through the entire process.

Steps to Use an AED

An AED is simpler to use, even for a lay responder. Proper administration of AED can help save lives, so let’s focus on a step-by-step guide on how to use the AED. All AEDs have the right visual and auditory prompts to help anyone who is administering it on the patient. 

The steps determining the right usage of an AED are as follows:

Step 1:

An AED requires you to remove all clothing from the patient’s chest. An AED kit will have all the tools to help you with that step. 

Step 2:

AED device has a prompt installed that instructs the Emergency First-responder to connect the electrodes to the AED. Subsequently, it will ask to stick the adhesive electrode pads to the patient’s chest. The pads have an image on the front, depicting how to place and position the pads on the victim’s chest. 

The Emergency responder has to then peel off the protector pad and press the pad firmly onto the patient’s skin. The second pad, too, must be placed in the same manner.

Step 3:

The AED will advice you to not touch the patient when it analyzes the patient’s heartbeat. It will flash ‘Analyzing’ during the analysis of the heart’s rhythm. It will then transmit electrical rhythm data (ECG) to the AED unit. AED checks the vital functions of the heart like the frequency of the heartbeat, shape, amplitude and heart rate. 

AED identifies if the patient needs an electric shock or not to speed up the process of regularizing the heartbeat. If AED detects an irregularity in a patient’s heartbeat, it will alert you with a message like: ‘STAND CLEAR – SHOCK REQUIRED’.

Step 4:

The AED then begins to build up the requisite electrical charge and then delivers an electrical shock to the patient. Post delivering the shock, the device is prompt, saying ‘SHOCK DELIVERED’ once complete.  The device repeats, determining the heart’s rhythm to understand if another shock is required, if there is a requirement, the AED administers one more shock.

Additionally, if a heart rhythm requires an electrical shock, the AED will prompt the Emergency responder to check the pulse to perform CPR. CPR procedure is mandatory even for patients having a sudden cardiac arrest. That implies even if you don’t have the right AED training during this medical emergency. 

Step 5:

Further, the device will prompt to administer CPR, taking the Emergency responder through the 120 beats per minute rhythm. The device will keep prompting for further shocks followed by the CPR and will keep asking to follow the necessary instructions given until further help arrives.

AED Pad Placement Guide

Using an AED on a patient can be confusing without proper training.  The toughest part is the application of the pads. Therefore, applying pads depends on the patient’s size and age.

Mainly for adults and children in the age bracket of 8 and above, weighing 50+ pounds, here’s a quick guide on placing the AED pad right: 

  • Firstly, the person administering the PAD has to peel off PADs.
  • Secondly, place the PAD on the right side of the chest right (below the collarbone).
  • Thirdly, place the other set of the PAD at the lower left side of the chest.
  • Lastly, the PADs have to connect to the AED. Some advanced AEDs in the market have pre-connected pads.

Always apply PADs on the bare chest. Same instructions are on the AED PADs. Prior to the application of the PADS, the patient’s clothes have to be removed or cut off. If the chest is wet, wipe the wetness and wait for it to dry.

How AEDs in Public Places Can Restart Hearts

Broader availability can make AED do wonders in saving human lives during the first 3 minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest. AED is a must-have in schools, colleges, workplaces, shopping malls, grocery stores, airports, railway stations.

AED signages should be a prominent feature because availing it can be easy by any bystander. Additionally, CPR and AED training must also be proactively encouraged by communities worldwide.