A.E.D’s “Automatic, External, Defibrillators” & What to do.
As technology in the medical industry increases we begin to see more and more devices, apps, services and tools used to help save lives during emergencies. The AED has been an invaluable tool in today’s emergency scene’s as it has the unique ability to “Reset” a heart with an abnormal rhythm. There are also a few Hollywood myths about AED’s that we should clear up so that using them becomes a little less scary, just remember “Its not like you see in TV, most of what you see on TV during an Emergency is dramatized to the highest form”.
To clear up a couple questions we get from our students, lets focus on what the AED is supposed to do. AED’s are designed to “Reset” a heart rhythm that is beating abnormally in 2 ways, 1 the heart is quivering like a bowl of jello “Fibrillation” and 2 beating wildly out of control “Tachycardia”. These are the 2 main problematic abnormal rhythms that the AED is designed to look for. Once it finds them it will deliver a “Small” amount of “Amperage” through the chest & Heart causing the heart muscle to contract suddenly. The electrical charge that passes through the heart muscle is designed to work with the heart muscle and “Reset” the rhythm. This may work the first time the victim is shocked or it may take several shocks, the key is to listen to the AED as it will “Talk to you” and guide you through what it wants.
-The amount of electricity that passes through the heart will be “Small” so will it blow you across the room if your accidentally touching the victim? “NO” The electricity does have the ability to reset a heart so….. “try not to touch them & STAY CLEAR!”
-Will the victim spasm wildly? “NO” the amount of electricity is small so you may only see a pectoral flex or slight quiver of their muscles. If they don’t spasm that is normal as many people don’t.
-Is there a recording device monitoring what I say hidden on the inside? “NO” the Public AED device is designed specifically to analyze the heart rhythm, there is no known recording device hidden on the public models. The “Medical AED’s” have a memory card to keep track of what the heart was doing during the emergency for Cardiologists to look over later for irregularities in the heart muscle.
HOW TO USE AN A.E.D “Automatic External Defibrillator”:
1) Open the Case
2) Turn on the AED
3) Listen & Do what it tells you to do “Follow the Diagrams”
***When the AED Prompts you to give a shock, Stand Clear and say LOUDLY “I’m Clear, Your Clear, Everybody’s Clear!” Make sure no one is touching the victim and press the SHOCK button to deliver the shock***
4) Continue CPR if the AED tells you too:
Things to consider:
-DON’T STOP CPR while the AED is being put on, you want to continue to pump blood and oxygen to the body, the AED will tell you when to stop.
-Use the Age appropriate pads for the person you are using the AED on. Adults have larger pads and children have smaller pads. There are normally “NO” infant pads in public AED kits. For infants use the Child pads and place the pads according to the Diagram. **If you don’t have the appropriate age group pad use what you have “Keep the heart /Center of the chest in between the pads” and deliver the shock as advised** “Any shock is better than no shock!!”
-Remove any clothing, hair or objects in the way of the pads like jewellery or medical patches. AED kits are normally stocked with a single disposable razor for chest hair if needed.Things like Pacemakers and Piercings you “Can Not” remove so put at least 1 inch distance between the object and the pad.
-Ensure that the chest is dry, wipe any beads of water or sweat of the chest and place the pads according to the design on them. The victim can be in a small puddle or snow bank, the electricity will not be redirected. If the puddle is big enough that you can make a “splash”, pull the victim to a dryer area and repeat the steps.
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.
“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”