What is an AED, and why are they vital in saving lives?
AED stands for‘ Automated External Defibrillator’, which is a device that detects lethal heart rhythms which stop the heart from pumping effectively, and then allows a rescuer to deliver a measured shock to a revert these rhythms,so the heart can pump effectively again.
- The only method available to revert lethal cardiac arrest rhythms is the use of a defibrillator e.g. AED.
- Statistically, for every minute lost without defibrillation, you lose 10% probability of saving a life (With good CPR you can extend this by several more minutes!)
- The ‘Average Ambulance Response Time in major metropolitan cities of Australia is approximately 16 minutes.
- If you apply a measured shock to a person’s heart,suffering a lethal rhythm within the first minute,they have a 70%chance of survival.
Are they safe to use?
Yes they are. The AED talks you through the process giving very simple directions on what to do and when.
Will I kill someone using a defibrillator?
No! AED’s will only deliver a shock to a heart if it detects a lethal rhythm via electrodes you stick to the person’s chest. These electrodes have sensors in them, and if they detect a normal heart rhythm they WILL NOT deliver a shock.
When do I use one?
You use a defibrillator when you need to undertake CPR, which is performed on an unconscious person who is not breathing normally e.g. regular, rhythmic breathing.
Can I re-use a defibrillator?
You will simply need to replace the electrodes,which were stuck to the patient’s chest. These are consumables and are readily available.
How easy are they to use?
Anyone who understands simple instructions in English, and has CPR training can use the device.
What happens if I am touching the person when the AED shocks?
Probably nothing. You may feel a slight tingle. Try to not touch the person when the shock is delivered. If you should have latex gloves available, this should also protect you even if you are touching the patients chest at the moment of shock.
What if the victim is wet or lying on a wet surface?
Try to dry the chest with a towel before applying the pads. Defibrillation is most safely performed on a dry surface. The risks to rescuers and bystanders associated with defibrillating on a wet surface have to be balanced against the risk to the patient of delaying defibrillation. If the patient cannot be safely and quickly moved to a dry surface, as far as possible all bystanders should move off the wet surface. Anyone that must be on the wet surface should avoid direct contact with the patient, and should avoid contact between their body – particularly above their waist – and the wet surface, as far as possible. Wearing latex gloves will also reduce the likelihood of the rescuer being shocked in the event the rescuer is touching the patient at the moment of defibrillation.
When I attach the pads to the person in cardiac arrest, how long does it take for the AED to work?
The devices vary somewhat but in general once the pads are attached, the device takes 5-10 seconds to analyze the heart’s rhythm and another few seconds to charge itself up.
Do I need special training?
No. But it is strongly advised by the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) that your staff regularly undertake training in CPR.
Please Note: Most current first aid training courses include training on defibrillators (or AEDs) as standard. There is also a free instructional book,‘Defibrillation & CPR’ supplied with every Mediana Heart On unit for additional background information.
How long does the battery last?
The battery for the Mediana Heart ON A10 lasts 5 years. The Adult and Child electrode PADS need replacement every 2 years.
Can I use them on children?
Yes. However, if the child is under 8 years of age, or under 25kgs in weight, you will need to use Child electrodes. For environments where children are at risk of cardiac arrest, such as from drowning or choking e.g. schools, public swimming pools, crèche’s or child care centres, it’s advisable to purchase a set of Child Electrodes.
What if the victim has a pacemaker?
Ignore the presence of the pacemaker.
Can I get sued using one?
To date, nobody has ever been successfully sued for applying first aid under British Law (Australia, Canada, USA, South Africa, UK)
Why would I need to use an AED?
If you DO NOT use a defibrillator on a cardiac arrest patient suffering a lethal heart rhythm, they will die. Sadly it’s that simple.
The risk of someone suffering a cardiac arrest in your workplace, or home, increases with an ageing population, including from accidents such as electrical shock.
What is the likely-hood someone will have a heart attack?
Statistically for Men – There’s a 50% chance of sudden cardiac arrest for men by the age of 70
Statistically for Women: From the age of 40 years, there’s a 33% chance of suffering a heart attack. (Ref Heart Attack Facts – Heart Foundation).
Some causes of cardiac arrest are: Poor heart health, drowning, electric shock, choking, poisoning, trauma.
Will an AED save everyone in cardiac arrest?
No. Many factors such as whether the collapse was witnessed, the heart’s rhythm, and the underlying condition of the victim determine whether the victim lives or dies.