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How to Use an AED
How to Use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for Cardiac Arrest Response
Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening emergency, and the timely use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can significantly increase the chances of survival. This article provides step-by-step guidance on how to use an AED effectively, along with essential information about the role of lay rescuers in providing early defibrillation.
Step 1: Assess the Situation and Call for Help
During a cardiac arrest, time is critical. Assess the victim’s responsiveness and breathing. If they are unresponsive and not breathing normally, immediately call for emergency medical services (EMS) by dialing 911 or instructing someone nearby to do so. Remember to stay calm and provide clear information about the situation.
Step 2: Begin Chest Compressions
You can’t wait for professional emergency responders to arrive before performing high-quality chest compressions on the victim’s bare chest. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest, with the other hand on top. Use your body weight to deliver compressions at the American Heart Association recommendation rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to fully recoil between compressions to pump blood to the vital organs effectively.
Step 3: Retrieve and Prepare the AED
Locate the nearest AED and bring it to the victim’s side. When the AED arrives, ensure the area is safe and free from any hazards. Turn on the AED according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which may involve lifting the lid, pressing the power button, or removing the defibrillator pads.
Step 4: Apply the AED Electrode Pads
Remove any medication patches or clothing from the person’s chest to expose their bare skin. Open the AED electrode pads and peel off the backing to reveal the adhesive side. Firmly place one pad on the upper right side of the victim’s chest, just below the collarbone, and the other on the lower left chest, below the armpit. Ensure the electrode pads are correctly positioned using visual guides provided on the electrode pads or packaging. To use an AED, you must know the correct placement, which is made easy with the visual guides, even for those who have had no AED training or AED skills.
Step 5: Connect the AED Pads to the Device
If they are not already attached, connect the pad cables to the AED. The AED will automatically analyze the patient’s heart rhythm once connected, enabling it to determine if an electrical shock is required. If the heartbeat is not at a normal rhythm, then the AED delivers a shock.
Step 6: Clear the Victim’s Surrounding Area
Ensure no one touches the patient’s body and instruct bystanders to stand clear. Clearing the area allows the AED to analyze the heart rhythm accurately without interference. Stand back and follow the AED’s voice instructions or visual prompts.
Step 7: Follow AED Prompts and Deliver Shocks if Advised
Listen carefully to the AED’s voice instructions or follow the visual prompts displayed on the device. If the AED determines that a shock is needed to treat ventricular fibrillation or another shockable rhythm, press the shock button if using a semi-automatic AED. For fully automatic AEDs, the device will deliver the shock automatically. Please be sure to stand clear during the shock delivery. *Note: In between shock delivery, the AED will prompt you to perform CPR and when to stop CPR.
Step 8: Resume CPR or Follow AED’s Instructions
If the AED does not advise a shock, immediately continue performing CPR, starting with chest compressions. Follow the AED’s voice instructions or visual prompts for the duration and sequence of compressions and rescue breaths. Continue CPR until emergency responders or paramedics arrive.
Using an AED correctly is crucial for increasing the chances of survival in cardiac arrest victims. AEDs are designed to be user-friendly, and even lay people can learn the necessary skills through AED certification courses. By promptly initiating CPR, applying AED electrode pads, and following the device’s voice instructions or visual prompts, you can provide early defibrillation and support professional emergency responders in their life-saving efforts.
Remember, every minute without CPR and defibrillation decreases the chances of survival. Knowing how to use an AED and having the confidence to act can significantly save lives during cardiac arrest emergencies. For more comprehensive information on AEDs, AED accessories, and AED/CPR training courses, visit AEDSuperstore.com.Not sure which AED is best for you? Check out our AED Buyer’s Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: An AED is a portable device that delivers an electric shock to the heart during sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) emergencies to restore its normal rhythm. It is designed to be used by bystanders or non-medical personnel in emergencies.
A: The chances of survival during sudden cardiac arrest decrease rapidly with every minute without CPR and defibrillation. Using an AED can significantly increase the chances of survival by delivering a life-saving shock to the heart.
A: Yes, AEDs are designed to be user-friendly and can be used by anyone, even without prior medical training. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and any specific training you have received is essential.
A: Peel off the backing of the AED pads to expose the adhesive and firmly press them onto the victim’s clean, bare, and dry skin. Refer to visual guides on the pads or packaging for proper pad placement, which may vary based on the victim’s age.
A: Child pads have a slightly different placement on the patient’s chest. Because the electric shock for an adult patient may be too intense for a child, these pads deliver a lower-level shock. One pad is placed on the front of the chest, while the other pad is placed on the back. Most AEDs require a child electrode pad set to be purchased separately, but some AEDs may need a child key or have a child button that needs to be pushed to deliver the right shock.
A: It is essential to clear the victim’s surrounding area and instruct others to do the same. Maintain a safe distance from the victim to ensure the AED can accurately analyze their heart rhythm.
A: If the AED advises a shock, ensure no one touches the victim. In the case of fully automatic AEDs, the shock will be delivered automatically without needing a button press. However, for semi-automatic AEDs, follow the instructions to press the shock button after ensuring no one touches the victim.
A: If the AED does not advise a shock, follow the voice and visual prompts for CPR until emergency services arrive. The AED will guide the appropriate actions to take.