Even though CPR is one of the easiest and most crucial first aid techniques, the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can significantly increase a person’s chances of survival during cardiac arrest. However, proper CPR is necessary for an AED to work, and CPR by itself is exceedingly unlikely to return the heart to normal function. Therefore, with an invention like AED, the rescuers can increase the chances of survival of a sudden cardiac arrest victim.
You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered what an AED is or why they seem to be present in so many offices and public buildings. In fact, because these devices are now widely accessible, more individuals than ever are interested in learning more about them. So, what exactly is an AED?
What is AED?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical tool used to diagnose ventricular fibrillation in patients and shock them with electricity to restore their heart rhythm. The irregular heart rhythm that causes sudden cardiac arrest most frequently is ventricular fibrillation. Sudden cardiac arrests happen when the heart enters ventricular fibrillation or stops beating entirely. If the person doesn’t receive medical care, they pass out, lose consciousness, become unresponsive, and eventually die. Many people are suddenly struck with a cardiac arrest and have no prior history of cardiac illness.
Reason to Learn to Use an AED
It is important to know how to use AED and learn how does an AED work because the typical first responder response time after a 911 call is 8 to 12 minutes, and for every minute that defibrillation is delayed, the chances of survival are lowered by about 10%. If you are untrained, then you can and should request for help.
The most common causes of mortality in the US include sudden cardiac arrest. The number of cardiac arrests this year will really exceed 350,000. As of right now, using an AED is the only option to recover a normal heart rhythm following cardiac arrest.
What are the benefits of an AED?
Here are 5 benefits of using an AED:
- The chances of survival of a sudden cardiac arrest victim increase manifold with the use of an automated external defibrillator.
- An untrained person can assist by simply pressing the shock button on the automated external defibrillator if the SCA victim is far from emergency medical services (EMS).
- The device can be easily operated by a layperson and provides completely automated emergency therapy swiftly.
- An AED device is completely automated and portable. It can analyze the heart for shock rhythms. The rescuer does not need to touch any buttons because they are built to shock victims automatically.
- The AED device features an internal communication system that alerts rescuers to the necessary actions to save lives. When the SCA sufferer requires shock therapy, the rescuer will be able to tell immediately.
Benefits of AED Certification
Being certified to use automated external defibrillators (AED) puts you in a position to offer assistance when it’s most required. Medical emergencies like cardiac arrest are an example of this. We must all be aware of when and how best to prepare for emergencies. The online courses for basic life support certification and AED training are significant because they equip students with the first aid knowledge and abilities that are essential for saving lives.
For individuals who already hold certification, recertification is a requirement that must be renewed. Additionally, there is an online CPR AED recertification course designed as a refresher for AED certificate holders. The recertification process enables licensed medical professionals to obtain continuing education credits for their educational achievements.
Importance of AED: How does an AED increase the likelihood of survival when combined with CPR?
Let’s discuss the importance of AED in CPR. Without CPR, an AED cannot be used effectively. CPR is necessary to maintain the victim’s adequate oxygenation up until the point at which their heart is restarted; this may need numerous shocks. Therefore, CPR must also be performed in between shocks. AED shocks do not guarantee survival, but they significantly raise the chances when compared to defibrillation provided by emergency personnel at a later stage. It is vital that CPR should continue in conjunction with AED.
Bystanders can utilize an AED at the scene prior to the arrival of emergency personnel. The AED device does the following functions:
- Analyzes the victim’s cardiac rhythm after being turned on.
- Through voice commands it instructs users how to properly apply the electrode pads to the victim’s chest.
- Delivers a possibly life-saving shock either fully automatically or at the touch of a button.
How to use an AED?
The heart contracts via electrical stimulation, much as all other muscles. The heart will contract erratically if electrical stimulation becomes chaotic. The first step in determining if an AED is required is understanding the symptoms of both in- and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Following are some steps to use an AED if you encounter someone who appears to be having a cardiac arrest and believe they might benefit from an AED:
- Determine whether the victim is unconscious.
- Immediately dial 911 if the person is not breathing and has no pulse. If other people are present, ask one of them to make the 911 call while the other gets the AED ready. Call 911 or emergency medical services if you’re by yourself to make sure assistance is coming.
- Switch on the AED. The AED will offer you instructions that will walk you through using the device and placing the stickable electrode pads on the victim’s chest. Using the pads, the AED may check the heart’s electrical activity and determine whether the victim is experiencing ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. These are the two cardiac rhythms in which an electrical shock is given by the AED.
- Send the shock first. The AED automatically assesses the victim’s cardiac rhythm after the pad electrodes are set in place and determines whether a shock is required. If so, the device will instruct you to take a backward step and press the shock button to administer the defibrillation shock. If a shock is not required, the AED has been programmed not to give one.
- Provide CPR. If CPR is still required after the shock is administered, begin CPR (a fundamental emergency procedure that involves chest compressions). You can learn CPR with the help of the AED. Until the emergency medical services team takes over, the procedure could be repeated as necessary.
While it’s crucial to take the CPR and AED training to recognize cardiac arrest, you must not hesitate in delivering CPR, and use an AED when appropriate. Prompt action and assistance should be given to the victim during a sudden cardiac arrest to save their life.