Do You Know What To Do After a Cardiac Arrest Event?

Having a Plan is Crucial

Do you know what do you do with your AED after it’s been used in a rescue? Do you know how to download the data from the AED? Who needs to read the data and write a report on the findings? What to do with the final report? What happens if the data reveals the AED did not function as expected and the victim didn’t survive? If you follow the steps of the Chain of Survival during a sudden cardiac arrest, the patient will be taken to the hospital, but once the ambulance leaves, there are still steps that are required. It is important to have a plan in place to comply with state laws so you are not scrambling to figure out what you are required to do in a short period of time.

What to do with the data from the AED

AEDs record data about the rescue from the time they are turned on. This data includes the cardiac rhythm (ECG) and whether shocks were delivered. After an AED is used, it needs to be downloaded and a physician needs to interpret the rhythm to determine if the AED detected a shockable rhythm, if a shock was administered, and how many shocks were delivered. AEDs will also record any anomalies such as a shock not being delivered when advised or when a victim is not in a shockable rhythm.

There are currently 17 states that require medical direction when owning an AED. If your state requires medical direction, also called physician oversight, you must be able to show a physician on record that oversees your AED program. This is the same physician who will review any AED events that are incurred on your AED. Some states require the physician providing your medical direction to be licensed in your state. Even If your state does not require physician oversight, if you use your AED during a rescue attempt, it will need to be downloaded with the data interpreted by a physician.  The physician’s report will either determine the AED functioned as expected and provide the detail of the event, or it will determine the AED did not function as expected and recommend the data and report be reviewed by the manufacturer to confirm the findings and file a report with the FDA. Many states also require a report to be filed with the EMS agency after an AED is used.

What to do with Accessories

The electrode pads on an AED are one-time use, and the used pads will need to be disposed of and new pads installed.  The battery may also have been depleted during the rescue and need to be replaced or recharged. If you need to dispose of the battery, contact your local battery recycling location. Items within the rescue kit, such as rubber gloves, wipes, razors, and other disposable items may need to be replaced as well.  

What to do with the AED

The AED may need to be cleaned and disinfected if any bodily fluids (such as blood or vomit) came in contact with the machine during the rescue, or if it was used in an environment where there was sand, dirt or water. The owner’s manual will outline how to make sure your AED is replenished after a rescue to make sure your device is ready to be put back into service again as quickly as possible.

Help Putting a Plan Together

If this all seems like a lot to manage, rest assured it doesn’t have to be hard at all. AED Superstore offers Arch™, a subscription AED Management Program which includes post-event support. If your AED is used in a rescue, all you need to do is file an online event report or call Arch customer support who will then take the following steps on your behalf:

  1. We will overnight you a loaner AED and replacement items for your responder kit if they were used.
  2. Use the box your loaner AED arrived in to send us the AED used in the rescue using the included prepaid shipping label.
  3. We will download the data, and have the physician for your state interpret the rhythm and assess if the AED correctly analyzed the rhythm and recommended a shock if determined by the cardiac rhythm.
  4. We will compile all of the data into a report and send it to you and any additional state agencies requiring the report.
  5. If needed, we will communicate with the manufacturer on your behalf.
  6. When all is done, we will send your original AED back to you. Simply place the new AED pads from the loaner on your original AED and send the loaner device back to us using the shipping box and prepaid label.

Our program ensures you have a fresh AED in place as soon as possible after the rescue event so you have peace of mind you have one in place should you need an AED again during the post-event process. Additionally, we file any required reports in your county.

One of the most important aspects of running a successful AED program is confidence your AED remains ready to rescue if needed. Various AED laws in some states require regular inspections of AEDs to document their readiness. Arch assists with this by sending you monthly reminders to check your AEDs and then keeps an electronic record of the readiness checks. By responding to these prompts and logging in to complete your checks in a timely manner, you are able to show evidence of proper maintenance. Arch also sends email reminders when you need to replace the AED’s electrode pads and battery or when one of your responders needs to be recertified in CPR/AED.

There is a lot to consider when developing a post-event plan. While not impossible, it definitely requires a lot of organization and research to determine what is needed based on requirements in your state. Let us assume that responsibility so you can focus on other important tasks. To find out more about Arch and the other features and functions it provides, call us at 800.544.0048 or visit us online.

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