According to a report from the American Heart Association, one out of every 7.4 people in the United States dies from sudden cardiac arrest. However, according to the National Safety Council, research shows that increased access to AED or Automated External Defibrillators could save as many as 40,000 lives each year.
So if you’re wondering what an AED is and why many states and the federal government have mandated AEDs in public buildings, shopping malls, and private companies have been slower to adapt, you’re not alone. And since these lifesaving devices are now commonly available, not just for healthcare providers, more people are curious about them. So in this article, we’ll provide comprehensive information on what an AED is and why it’s essential to learn how to use it.
What is AED?
AED is an acronym for an Automated External Defibrillator. It is first aid medical equipment used on patients experiencing cardiac arrest. This portable lifesaving device is used to measure the activities, analyze the heart rhythm, and sometimes deliver an electrical shock or defibrillation to re-establish the heart’s effective rhythm and simultaneously save lives.
When ventricular tachycardia or abnormal heart rhythm is detected, it delivers an electric shock to the heart to restore the normal rhythm. There are different types of AEDs, and the price varies depending on the brands of AEDs. In addition, the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association for Emergency Cardiovascular Care have certified instructors and running programs that aid in the provision of online CPR AED classes, which results in online AED certification.
How to Operate an AED
Like all muscles, the heart contracts by electrical stimulation. When the electrical stimulation becomes disorganized, the heart will contract randomly. Knowing the signs of in and out of hospital cardiac arrest is the first step in deciding whether an AED is needed. If you see a cardiac arrest victim and you think he or she may need an AED, here’s what you should do :
Check to see if the victim is unconscious.
If the victim has no pulse and is not breathing, call for emergency medical help. If other people are present, ask someone to call 911 while the other prepares the AED. If you’re alone, call 911 or emergency medical services first to ensure help is on the way.
Turn on the AED device. The AED will give you step-by-step commands explaining how to use the device and position the adhesive electrode pads on the victim’s chest. The pads allow the AED to examine the electrical output from the heart and determine if the victim is in a shockable rhythm, either ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia.
Deliver the shock. When the pad electrodes are in place, the AED automatically measures the victim’s heart rhythm and determines if a shock is needed. If it is, the machine will tell you to stand back and push the shock button to deliver the defibrillation shock. The AED is programmed not to deliver a shock if it’s not needed.
Administer CPR. Start CPR (a basic emergency procedure that employs chest compressions) after the shock is delivered if CPR is still needed. The AED will also guide you through CPR. The process can be repeated as needed until the medical emergency services team take over. Know the difference between CPR and AED here.