Most public places in key cities are likely to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) somewhere. Easy to use and highly sophisticated, the AED also allows for life-saving power which is easy for people who have never before used one with its user-friendly instructions. Though it may be simple, it is still crucial to ensure that proper AED usage is carried out in stressful situations.
First, stick the AED’s pads to the lower left and upper right side of the patient’s chest. When secured, the AED will analyze the individual’s heart rhythm. If not secured properly, the AED will inform the provider of that fact. After analyzing the heart’s rhythm, the device will let you know if a shock is required. The shock will work to depolarize the heart’s muscle cells, as a way to restart its electrical activity. It will take the heart’s abnormal electrical activity and reset it to a normal rhythm.
AED Key Points
Oxygen must not flow across the patient’s chest during the shock.
Chest compressions should never be stopped for longer than 10 seconds while analyzing the rhythm.
Everyone should avoid contact with the patient during the shock.
After the first two minutes or five cycles of CPR, check the pulse.
Improve chest compressions and consider a vasopressor if the end tidal CO2 is less than 10 mmHg during CPR.
Criteria to Apply AED
An AED should be used if:
- The patient is unresponsive, even to rough shaking of their shoulders and loud shouting.
- There is little to no breathing, or very ineffective gasping.
- You cannot detect the carotid artery pulse.
Basic AED Operation
For proper AED usage, remember the following steps:
- Turn on the AED.
- Choose your pads: adult or pediatric.
- Stick the pads to a bare chest and double-check that the cables are connected. Dry the chest if it is wet.
- One pad must be on the upper right side while the other pad must be a few inches below the left arm.
- Let the AED read the rhythm by clearing the area. This process should take 15 seconds at most.
- If no rhythm is detected in 15 seconds, apply CPR again.
- If the AED informs you that a shock is required, clear the individual—avoid all contact with them and clear away the oxygen. Assess visually that the individual is clear and shout loudly, “CLEAR!”
- Press “Shock” on the AED.
- Resume CPR immediately with chest compressions
- Another two minutes or five cycles of CPR later, use the AED to analyze the rhythm.
- Follow the AED’s directions.
- If you can’t get the AED to work, continue CPR. Don’t waste time fixing the AED, as it is only supplemental to CPR.
- If in water, never use the AED.
- Do not place pads over implanted defibrillators or pacemakers.