9. Using an AED

  1. An AED (Automated external defibrillator) can detect and treat life threatening arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia (VT)  and ventricular fibrillation (VF). 
  1. VT is a rapid rhythm in which the ventricles contract in somewhat organized fashion, but produce inadequate blood flow. VF is a condition in which the lower chambers of the heart quiver in an unorganized fashion, and therefore, cannot pump blood to the body. Both rhythms are lethal if not treated. 
  1. An AED sends electricity through the heart and stuns the heart temporarily to allow the normal pacemaker to restore normal heart rhythm. 
  1. Early defibrillation is key to survival in cardiac arrest. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced by 10%. Early defibrillation can increase survival rates to greater than 50%. 
  1. AEDs can be found in airports, sporting arenas, malls,subways,  schools, hotels, or wherever large crowds of people gather. They are very user friendly, and mainly require turning the machine on, and listening for directions. They do not have to be used only by medical personnel. 
  1. 4 Steps to Using any AEDTurn on the machine. Some models turn on automatically when you lift the lid of the carrying case. Attach AED pads. One pad on upper right chest and other pad on left lower ribcage. Analyze the rhythm. Some machines will do it automatically. Some will require you to push the Analyze button. Can take up to 10 seconds. Push to shock. Must make sure you yell CLEAR, and confirm no one is touching patient. If shock is not advised, AED will state NO SHOCK, and tell you to resume CPR. 
  1. Special circumstances – Victim has a hairy chest. Leads may not stick. Shave if possible. If not, put pads on and quickly remove to remove hair. Put new set of pads back on. Must have good contact. Victim is in water. Try to pull victim to dry area. You will not get a shock, as water is a good conductor, and current will be dispersed across skin of victim. May not be enough current to convert them.  Victim has a implanted pacemaker or defibrillator. The device has likely failed if victim in V tac or V fib. Usually implanted in left upper chest. Avoid placing AED pad over it. Victim has a medication patch on their chest. Do not place AED over patch, as could cause a burn.