Many people understand the need to learn CPR but have trouble understanding why we use automated external defibrillators in cardiac arrest.
The use of AED may seem complicated and even scary at first, but this device plays a significant role in a cardiac emergency. Read on to learn more about this lifesaving device.
What Is An AED?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device used to assess a person’s heart rhythm. In a cardiac emergency, it administers an electric shock called ‘defibrillation’ that helps the heart reestablish an effective rhythm.
The shock from the device momentarily stuns the heart and stops all activity, giving the heart the chance to resume beating effectively.
When using an AED, a voice or audible prompt will guide you through the process. The device will advise a shock only for ventricular fibrillation or other life-threatening conditions.
7 Things To Know About AED
Here are seven facts that will enable you to familiarise yourself with all things AED.
1. AEDs Save Lives
Using an automated external defibrillator in the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest often results in the best outcomes. Experts suggest that over 100,000 lives could be saved if AEDs are used quickly and effectively in an emergency.
Having more of this device available for public use and having people trained in AEDs will greatly increase survival rates for people in cardiac arrest.
2. AEDs Do Not Replace The Use Of CPR
When a person suffers a cardiac arrest, an AED device will improve the chances of restoring heart rhythm, but the performance of CPR will keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain. Both procedures are important, and one does not replace the other in a cardiac emergency.
3. AEDs Are Now Available In Public Areas
Automated external defibrillators are typically placed in public areas where large numbers of people gather. If there is an emergency, their locations are found with clear marks allowing quick access.
4. AED Devices Need Regular Maintenance
To ensure these devices function at their best in a cardiac emergency, they need to be maintained on a regular basis. AED maintenance will include checking and changing batteries regularly, along with electrode cables and pads.
For workplace AEDs, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to take care of your device.
5. AEDs Can Be Used In All Weather Conditions
Modern defibrillators are used to be safe in all weather conditions, including rain and snow. However, if at all possible, keep the person protected from inclement weather and move to a shelter.
If the emergency occurs in water, move the person to a relatively dry area before using the device. Be sure to wipe the casualty’s chest dry before placing the electrode pads.
6. AED Is Not Always The Answer
Note that defibrillators only treat a heart in ventricular fibrillation (VF) or irregular heart rhythm.
In a cardiac arrest without VF, the heart will not respond to electric currents. In such cases, the person will only need medication and breathing support through CPR.
7. Anyone Can Use AEDs
This device makes it possible for more people to respond in a medical emergency where defibrillation is required.
Because AEDs are portable, they can be used by lay rescuers or nonmedical people with first aid training. Police authorities, fire service rescuers, flight attendants, security guards, and other lay rescuers who have attended CPR and AED training can use this device.
For this reason, AEDs can be made part of emergency response action, including the rapid calling of an ambulance (000 – Triple Zero) and prompt delivery of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). All three activities are vital to improving the chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.