- First Aid
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:
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 BrandsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 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!
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
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.
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