Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can be an extremely frightening and potentially deadly medical emergency that anyone can experience at any time. American Heart Association states that more than 350,000 Americans experience cardiac arrest yearly. However, with the technological advancements in the medical field, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are becoming more common in public places that are known to be the only thing that can increase the survival rates of a person experiencing cardiac arrest. But how exactly do AEDs work, and what makes them a critical tool in treating sudden cardiac arrest?
In this blog, basic life support instructors will delve into the inner workings of AEDs and explore how they can make all the difference in saving someone’s life.
What Is An AED?
An AED is a small, portable device used to treat SCA. It works by delivering an electrical shock to the heart, which can help to restore a normal heartbeat. AEDs are designed and manufactured to be used by anyone, regardless of their level of medical training.
When Might An AED Be Required?
Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. It occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing the heart to suddenly stop beating. When this happens, the person may collapse, stop breathing, and lose consciousness. It’s a life-threatening and scary situation that needs immediate action.
This is where an AED comes in. You can find these devices in many public places, such as schools, airports, and shopping malls. They are also commonly found in emergency vehicles such as police cars and ambulances. If someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest, a bystander can quickly grab the AED and use it to help save their life.
But when might you need to use an AED? Well, it could happen in many different situations. For example, if you’re at the gym and someone suddenly collapses while exercising, it could signify sudden cardiac arrest. The same goes for someone who collapses while playing sports, such as football or basketball.
Additionally, sudden cardiac arrest can happen to people of all ages, even children. That’s why having AEDs readily available in schools and other public places is essential.
How Do AEDs Work?
AEDs evaluate the individual’s heart rate and deliver an electrical shock if necessary, which can help restore a normal heartbeat. This is essential because, in numerous cases of sudden cardiac arrest, the heart’s rhythm becomes chaotic and abnormal, and it cannot maintain a normal blood flow. By delivering an electrical shock, an AED can help to reset the heart’s rhythm and allow it to pump blood effectively once again. Here’s how the process typically works:
Step 1: Turn On The AED
The first step in using an AED is to turn it on the switch. Most AEDs have a simple on/off switch that anyone can operate efficiently.
Step 2: Attach The Pads To The Chest
Once your turn on the AED, you’ll need to attach the pads to the person’s chest. The pads have a sticky adhesive that makes it easier for them to stick to the skin. You need to place one pad on the upper right side of the chest while placing the other on the lower left side.
Step 3: Follow The AED’s Instructions
Once you’ve attached the pads, the AED will begin to analyze the person’s heart rhythm. The device will then give you directions on what you should do next. If the AED determines that an electric shock is necessary, it’ll give you instructions to stand clear and deliver the shock.
Step 4: Begin CPR
After you’ve delivered the shock, you’ll need to begin CPR. The AED will continue to give you instructions on what to keep doing to resuscitate the person, including when to stop CPR and when to check the person’s pulse.
Who Can Use An AED?
AEDs are designed to be used by anyone, even if they don’t have any medical training. Many AEDs are intended to be used by people without medical training. This is because AEDs are simple and easy to use and have clear instructions that guide a user through the process step by step.
However, it’s important to note that while anyone can use an AED, it’s still a good idea to have some basic knowledge of CPR and first aid. Knowing how to perform CPR can help to improve the person’s survival chances, even if an AED is unavailable.
Where Can You Find AEDs?
You can find AEDs in many public places, such as schools, airports, and shopping malls. They may also be found in other locations, such as gyms, sports arenas, and office buildings. In some cases, individuals may purchase their own personal AEDs, especially if they have a medical condition that puts them at risk of SCA.
Why Should You Consider Enrolling In CPR And First Aid Training?
Enrolling in CPR and first aid training is an excellent way to equip yourself with essential lifesaving skills and help you learn how to use an AED. While most AEDs come with simple instructions, proper training will enable you to handle the device easily.
CPR and first aid courses provide hands-on training on administering first aid, performing CPR, and responding to medical emergencies. During the training, instructors may give specific modules on AED use, teaching learners how to prepare the patient, handle the device, and apply the electrodes to the chest.
In addition, CPR and first aid training will also help you learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a cardiac emergency, which is crucial in determining when to use an AED. Identifying an emergency early will enable you to administer the appropriate treatment and potentially save a life quickly.
CPR, ACLS & PALS Training Institute offers numerous first-aid and cpr and first aid training, where instructors offer hands-on training to tackle a medical emergency such as a heart attack or a stroke. They also provide basic life support, ACLS certification online, and PALS certification.
Take a look at their calendar and register for their upcoming class today.
About The Author
Charles B. works as a bls cpr certification online (BLS) instructor at CPR, ACLS & PALS Training Institute. He has years of practical experience in emergency response and a deep passion for educating others on responding to sudden medical emergencies.