How To Use an AED or Automated External Defibrillator -

AED or Automated External Defibrillator is a portable, battery operated and lightweight device that has sticky pads with electrodes or sensors. These sticky pads are attached to the chest of a patient having sudden cardiac arrest. Electrical current is made to deliver through these sticky pads and that to the patient’s heart. The device is used to deliver the current to hearts that are experiencing infrequent or irregular heartbeats or hearts that are absent of any rhythm (it happens in sudden cardiac arrest emergencies). The electrodes that the device delivers send details about the heart rhythm that to AED’s computer. Once the information is collected, the system analyzes heartbeat and determines whether there is a requirement for electric shocks.

When to use an AED?

AED can save a life. It should be used when a victim of sudden cardiac arrest is unconscious and has absence of pulse. The device will deliver a shock for resetting the heart if it detects a shock-able rhythm. An AED should not be used on a patient who has a pulse. The use of this device is for stunning the heart momentarily and helping it to restart with a regular heart rhythm.

When a bystander performs CPR and uses an AED within the first few minutes of the collapse of a victim, the survival rate increases. Therefore, it is vital to make use of the device within the first 3 or 5 minutes of a person’s collapse due to cardiac arrest.

Can bystanders use AEDs on cardiac arrest patients?

Earlier AEDs were authenticated for usage to only trained medical professionals. In fact, they were only allowed to purchase AEDs. However, today AEDs are designed as portable-lightweight-easy-to-use devices. They are easily available to regular individuals, without any prescription requirement. In the US, many public facilities are mandated to have the presence of onsite AEDs, such as, schools, healthcare centers, airports and similar places. The portable AEDs are developed with user-friendly features. Since they are lightweight, you can carry it effortlessly to a scene of emergency. They deliver instructions in a clear voice, thereby, effectively guiding a regular bystander to undertake the process of using the same. Almost all AEDs manufactured today are incorporated with voice prompts. These voice prompts offer directions and guidance to those in charge or required to use the machines. Even untrained individuals can use these devices with complete affect.

How to use an Automated External Defibrillator or AED?

When someone goes into SCA or sudden cardiac arrest, his/her life is at stake in every minute. If the person does receive any treatment, he/she might die. If you are trained in giving CPR and also using an AED, you can save the person’s life or at least get enough time for the arrival of medical assistance.

Here is how you can use an AED

  • First try waking up the patient. If needed, shake or shout to get response from the person. However, in case of a toddler or infant, avoid shouting or shaking. A simple pinch would do.
  • Start performing CPR and preparing the AED in the next step. If the patient fails to respond, dial 911 and start performing CPR on him/her. Call for assistance, if you are alone and let someone else start-up the AED. Follow the AED’s prompts and visible instructions and then use it on the person.
  • Prior to using the AED, ensure that the area is dry. Remove the patient from any wet or similar surface that to a dry area. This should be done to avoid electric current conduction because of water.
  • Uncover the chest of the concerning patient. If it is wet, dry it and then apply the AED’s electrode pads. Place the pads properly (follow the display of the device). Position one pad just below the person’s left nipple and the rib cage’s left side. The other pad should be placed on the right nipple right on the central region of his/her chest.
  • If required, press the shock button and let the device charge and administer shock.
  • Once the shock is delivered, start again with CPR. The AED will let you know whether you should use it again or not. Until then keep performing CPR or till the person revives.

AEDs are not difficult to use. All you need to do is follow the instructions and turn on the device. The machine is highly accurate when it comes to determining whether a patient needs more shock delivery or not. Nowadays, AEDs come in portable sizes and comprehensible images and instructions, which enable even a layman to use them. If you take up CPR training classes and courses, you will get to learn not only about CPR techniques and methods but different machines and tools that further helps in reviving a patient along with CPR.