AED

Save a Life with an AED

Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are becoming more and more prevalent in schools, airports, and public buildings all over the country. These fantastic devices have saved many lives that would have otherwise been lost simply because time is such a critical issue when it comes to heart related problems. Even though emergency response teams respond rapidly, having an AED on hand will enable an individual suffering from a heart attack or other heart related problem to survive until the paramedics arrive. Using an AED, anyone has the power to save a life!

What are AED's?

Automated External Defibrillators are lightweight, portable devices that can jumpstart a victim s heart by using an electrical pulse called a biphasic shock. Guiding the rescuer with a combination of simple and clear voice, text and graphical instructions, AEDs do nearly all of the work, enabling practically anyone save a life!

Where to buy AEDs?

The popularity of AED has catapulted this piece of life saving equipment from the obscure to the every day. Companies like Zoll, Welch Allyn, Medtronic, Defibtech and Phillips have introduced affordable AED that are now even practical for home use. For instance, Amazon.com carries the Phillips HeartStart for a competitive $1,295, while the advanced Zoll AED Plus is just $1,695. It is amazing that such a small investment can help you save a life; perhaps even your own! A growing number of grant programs have sprung up to fund public access defibrillators for places such as schools and government buildings.

What are the components of the AED

Basically the AED has three components. These components are essential for the AED machine for function.

Components of the AED:

AED Machine

Patches

Conectors

These are the components that make up the whole unit. Withouth the set, the AED cannot function. The battery is attached to the machine and is usually in non rechargeable unlike the manual AED that are usually chargeable.

Additional items may be included in the whole unit. These could be the following:

Scissors, Shave, Cloth (for wiping wet chest)

Different AED Models and Brands

Click thumbnail to view full-size

AED Brands

There are different kinds or models of AED. However, regardless of what brand or model, typically, it has the same function. It is fully automated and is very effective during ventricular fibrillation. In fact studies have indicated that for every minute that an AED is delayed, there is a 10% decreased in the victims survival.

AED training

AED training or course, seminars will introduce the correct methods of using an AED. AED machines provide voice instructions and are practically foolproof. In fact, growing research suggests that AED are easier to use and often more effective than CPR! However, it is recommended that those likely to use an AED are complete a training course for defibrillators so that they know exactly know the device works.

Public Access to Defibrillators PAD

As early as 2000, a program was created placing AED's on publice places that could be readily available in the event of cardiac arrest.

Several AED's are place in different public places for emergency use. This AED's were place in airports, train station, bus stations.

Now this machines have entered private companies, arlines, commercial vessels and many other places.

Truly it has gained popularity because of its effectivity and great impact in the advent of saving lives!

AED performance

A great many lives have been saved thanks to these fantastic Automated External Defibrillators in a variety of public places. From teenaged athletes with undiagnosed heart problems who suffer heart attacks while participating in their sport of choice to individuals who suffer a heart attack in their local mall or airport, AED are an excellent piece of technology that can literally decide between life and death. If you are in the position to, consider purchasing an AED for your home or place of business. Also, consider learning the correct methods of using an AED in the event of an emergency.

Understanding the electrical conduction of the HEART

The Heart has its own electrical supply. It comes from the Sino atrial node that is commonly the pacemaker. In the laymans term, we could probably call it the generator since this is the source of electricity.

Once the electricity is generated, the electrical impulse travels along pathways of the atria which causes the the atrial muscles to contract. From there the signal is received at the atrioventricular node (AV Node). This is in the area in between the atria and the ventricles. Basically the AV node is like a relay station since below the av node, the electrical pathway divides into two main branches, serving the right and left ventricles. When the electrical impulse reaches the Purkinjie fibers, the ventricular msucles contract. This will now move the blood from the heart towards the different areas of the body. This is characterized by the presence of a pulse.

The Heart's Electrical Conduction

Normal Sinus Rhythm
Normal Sinus Rhythm

Abnormal Electrical Activity

Certain conditions may occur causing abnormal contraction as well as abnormalities in the electrical impulses of the heart. When this happen, the heart cannot generate a good output as it contracts and obviously may cause death.

Two of the most common rhythm are the following:

VENTRICULAR FIBRILLATION - this occurs when the heart is muscles contrac eratically, the heart muscle at this point are quivering instead of a strong contraction. At this state, the heart does not produce blood flow.

VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA - during this setting, the heart beats at a rate of between 150-200 beats per minute. Since the rate is so rapid, contractions of the heart become ineffective and again the heart is unable to produce a good blood output.

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Ventricular Tachycardia
Ventricular Tachycardia
Ventricular Tachycardia

Using the AED

The AED is only utilized when the patient is UNRESPONSIVE, NO BREATHING, and WITH NO SIGNS OF LIFE ( no pulse).

So the basic thing to do is determine unresponsiveness, check the breathing and check circulation. Have someone call for help and get the AED, begin cpr and attached the AED as soon as it is available.

However if you are alone, leave the victim and call for help first and start CPR and use the AED if it is available.

Steps in using the AED

  • Place the AED near the patient's head. Turn it on. Make sure that the AED is near you (AED operator)
  • Check and insure that the electrodes are plugged in
  • Expose the patient's chest, the chest should be clean and dry. (use the accompanying cloth if available in the AED to dry the chest)
  • Remove the adhesive backing from the AED pads and apply them to the chest. Simply follow the pictures on pads on proper placement.
  • STOP CPR, when the AED prompts you not to touch the patient. Some AED devices requires you to press the analyze button. The AED will advise you to press the shock button if the rhythm requires defibrillation
  • If defibrillation is recommenden, make sure no one is touching the patient before pressing the shock button.
  • After pressing the shock button, resume CPR
  • After about 5cycles of 30 compression and two ventilations (approximately 2 minutes of CPR), the AED will analyze again or will require you to press the analyze button.
  • Continue the last 4 steps as directed by the AED until help or the Emergency Medical Services arrives

Precautions in using AED devices

Do not place AED pads over medication patches such as nitroglycerin. Remove the patch before placing the AED pad

Do not apply pads over an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator

Do not use alcohol to wipe the patient's chest before applying the AED pads

Do not attach pads to any patient unless the patient is unresponsive, no breathing and no pulse.

Do not press the shock button unless until no one is in contact with the patient

If a child pad is available, use the Child pad for children

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Comments 12 comments

Mary Ann 8 years ago

I am a nurse in a remote location. I came upon your article and its very informative. Is the AED available worldwide?


JPSO138 profile image

JPSO138 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International Author

Thanks for the comment. With respect to your question, AED are mostly produce in the United States. But there are no restrictions in buying such products if you are outside the U.S.


Nancy 7 years ago

Can anyone use the AED even if he or she is not a medical doctor?


Jessica 7 years ago

Very useful device! Great post


Alfonso 7 years ago

I have just undergone AED training. Very simple yet very useful device. Great article!


Robbie 5 years ago

I wanted to point out that AEDs can now actually be used on infant and children under 80 pounds. For the LIFEPAK AEDs, for example, there are Infant/Pediatric Electrodes (http://www.aedstoday.com/LIFEPAK-AED-InfantChild-E...

For the Philips HeartStart AEDs, you'll need the either Infant/Child Electrodes (http://www.aedstoday.com/Philips-OnSite-InfantChil... for the OnSite AED or the Infant/Child Key for the FRx AED (http://www.aedstoday.com/Philips-HeartStart-FRx-In... The other AED manufacturers do similar things, but when you'll want an AED only from Medtronic/Physio-Control or Philips.

I've seen lots of instances of children and infants suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, so it's very important to know and realize that it can happen and that therapy does exist for this through the use of AEDs. The AED simple lowers the energy therapy/joules for the younger patients.

So, if you're getting an AED for a space where children and infants frequent, always get the needed accessories to deliver the proper care for them.


Doug 5 years ago

Below are descriptions of Red Cross FAQ's before and after more research. AED's can be used on "all" victims in cardiac arrest regardless of age or pad rating. I deally you would use a pediatric pad for an Infant but if one is not available then adults pads may be used. SEE Below.

Q. Can AEDs be used on young children and infants? A. Certain AED equipment and electrode pads specifically designed to deliver lower energy levels for pediatric victims (infants and children) have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are recommended for use on infants in cardiac arrest by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Replace the following FAQ:

Q: Should an AED be used on an infant who shows no signs of life? A: The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) advisory statement does not currently support a recommendation for or against the use of AEDs on children under 1 year of age because there is insufficient evidence as to its effectiveness. Always follow local protocols and medical direction.

With the new FAQ:

Q: Should an AED be used on an infant in cardiac arrest? A: Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are appropriate for use on anyone in cardiac arrest, regardless of age, including children as young as newborns. When available, rescuers should use pediatric settings or pads when treating children and infants. If pediatric equipment is not available, rescuers may use AEDs configured for adult victims. The use of an AED should be used along with high quality CPR.

More FAQ's below. Red Cross-

Incorporate “AED Use on Infants in Cardiac Arrest” into Training Courses

Following is guidance on how to incorporate American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Update information regarding the use of AEDs on infants in cardiac Arrest into American Red Cross Training Courses.

Based on scientific review, the American Red Cross Advisory Council on First Aid, Aquatics, Safety and Preparedness (ACFASP) previously developed a response to address the question “Should an AED be used on an infant in cardiac arrest?”

The response is under “ACFASP Answers” in the “Ask the Expert” section of Instructor’s Corner. This updated information was included in the newly revised Babysitter’s Training ‘08 materials and will be incorporated in other CPR/AED publications as programs are revised. It should be noted that pediatric AED devices and pads were previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on infants and children.

Chapters should ensure that instructors and instructor trainers have the information and incorporate it into their training courses as follows:

Modify the following Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) in the applicable instructor’s manual(s):

Q. Can AEDs be used on young children? A. Certain AED equipment and electrode pads specifically designed to deliver lower energy levels for pediatric victims have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are recommended by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) for use on cardiac arrest victims between the ages of 1 and 8.

To read:

Q. Can AEDs be used on young children and infants? A. Certain AED equipment and electrode pads specifically designed to deliver lower energy levels for pediatric victims (infants and children) have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are recommended for use on infants in cardiac arrest by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Replace the following FAQ:

Q: Should an AED be used on an infant who shows no signs of life? A: The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) advisory statement does not currently support a recommendation for or against the use of AEDs on children under 1 year of age because there is insufficient evidence as to its effectiveness. Always follow local protocols and medical direction.

With the new FAQ:

Q: Should an AED be used on an infant in cardiac arrest? A: Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are appropriate for use on anyone in cardiac arrest, regardless of age, including children as young as newborns. When available, rescuers should use pediatric settings or pads when treating children and infants. If pediatric equipment is not available, rescuers may use AEDs configured for adult victims. The use of an AED should be used along with high quality CPR.

Modify the statements in the applicable instructor’s manual(s):

????

“An AED can be used on children between the ages of 1 and 8 or weighing less than 55 pounds,” and “AEDs equipped with pediatric AED pads capable of delivering lower levels of energy to a child between the ages of 1 and 8 or weighing less than 55 pounds,”

To read:

“….infants and children under age 8 or weighing less than 55 pounds.”

????

Wherever “child” is used in reference to AED information or skills, it can be assumed to mean “child and infant” or “children and infants.”

????

Instructors should remind course participants to always follow established local protocols/medical direction and manufacturer’s instructions when using an AED.

Note: there is no need or plans to create an infant AED course or certificate.

Similar information will be posted on Instructor’s Corner. Contact the Preparedness and Health and Safety Services Program Administration Unit if you have any questions.

Date/Time Last Modified 10/30/2008 1:34:47 PM


lil  5 years ago

this is a really good vedio for kids who are studying cpr


sr 5 years ago

Make sure to see if you need a certain aed for your business, school or boat. Just like cars...aeds have different options and some are more water resistant or durable. 2 brands also are fully automatic. The new aha guidelines also say that if you must you can use child pads on infants. We suggest to make sure to get both adult and child pads with all aeds just to be safe. See videos on each aed and more help at http://www.aedoffice.com and remember to learn the new "cab" cpr and how to use and aed before you purchase any defibrillator!


Nwoke blessing 4 years ago

AED is a very good dervice that is needed in every home. But is not afford to the poor mass and is not common in the developing country eg.NIGERIA even in the so call airports ,schools and hotels in Nigeria.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

Very interesting and useful information. Everyone needs to know this. Voted up and useful!


JPSO138 profile image

JPSO138 2 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International Author

Hi Au fait, the great thing about this is in your country most states have this in public places. Sad to note that in our country, only a few knows about the AED. Thanks for dropping by.

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