CPR AED (Defibrillators)
With heart disease being a major killer in this nation, non-medical
individuals are promising to be the most important factor in improves
survival from sudden cardiac arrests.
Ninety-five percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die
before they reach the hospital. But use of a defibrillator, where a jolt of electricity is
used to snap a person out of cardiac arrest and allow the heart to start beating
again, could mean the difference between life and death.
If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 911 first. If you think
you or someone in your circle of family, friends or co-workers might be a candidate
for a heart attack and therefore cardiac arrest you need to know CPR, and should
consider training in defibrillators specifically devised for non-medical personnel to
use prior to organized EMS/Rescue arrival. Early use of defibrillation has been
proven to be the single most important factor in successful resuscitation and not the
level of medical expertise. And again based on probability of cardiac emergencies
the placement of a public access defibrillator (AED) should be considered in homes,
school, workplaces, and all other public gathering locations
the following are some questions and answers to explain how AED works.
Q: What's an AED?
A: An AED is a computerized medical device that can be used to treat a victim of
cardiac arrest. The AED evaluates a cardiac arrest victim’s heart rhythm, determines
if shock is needed and delivers an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart.
Audible and/or visual prompts guide the user through the process.
Q: How does an AED work?
A: Adhesive electrode pads are placed on the victim’s chest and cables to the AED
join them. The adhesive pads capture the victim’s heart rhythm and transmit the
rhythm to the AED. A computer inside the defibrillator analyzes the victim's heart
rhythm and advises the operator whether a shock is needed. AEDs advise a shock
only for a “shockable” rhythm, most often ventricular fibrillation (VF).
Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm in which the heart’s
electrical impulses become chaotic, causing the heart to quiver and stop pumping
blood. The shock is delivered through the adhesive electrode pads that are attached
to the victim’s chest. If the shock is effective, it will stop the abnormal heart rhythm,
allowing the heart’s normal rhythm to resume.
Q: Why are AEDs important?
A: AEDs strengthen the chain of survival because they can reduce the time to
defibrillation for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. When a person suffers a sudden
cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF), the treatment is defibrillation
within minutes. Defibrillation is the delivery of a shock that stops VF and allows the
heart’s normal rhythm to resume.
When a victim collapses in sudden VF cardiac arrest, for each minute that passes
without CPR and defibrillation, the victim’s chances of survival decrease by 7 percent
to 10 percent. AEDs can be placed throughout the community as part of Public
Access Defibrillation (PAD) programs with rescuers trained in CPR and use of an
AED. PAD programs can help sudden cardiac arrest victims receive immediate
bystander CPR and defibrillation within minutes. CPR and defibrillation can
significantly increase survival from sudden cardiac arrest.
Q: Who can use an AED?
A: AEDs can be used by anyone. May non-medical public personnel such as police,
fire service personnel, flight attendants, and security guards are now routinely
trained but any lay rescuers who have been properly trained are qualified to safely
use an AED.
Q: Can an AED make mistakes?
A: It is unlikely that an AED will make a mistake. Studies have shown that
AEDs interpret the victim’s heart rhythm more accurately and more
quickly than trained emergency professionals. If the operator has
attached the AED to an adult victim who's not responsive, not
breathing normally, with no signs of circulation (in cardiac arrest),
the AED is very accurate in determining if the victim has a “shockable” or a “non-
shockable” rhythm. The manufacturer and the state from liability indemnify a user of
an approved AED who has been trained and certified by a qualified training program.
Q: If AEDs are so easy to use, why is formal training needed?
A: Commercially available AEDs are very user-friendly and contain
voice and light prompts to guide the rescuer. In fact, school children can
operate an AED effectively. However, safe use of an AED requires
more than the simple operation of the device.
An AED operator must know how to recognize the signs of
sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate the EMS system and
how to perform CPR. It's also important to receive formal training on the AED that will
be used. That way the user becomes comfortable with the device and can
successfully operate it in an emergency.
Training also teaches the user how to respond to special situations such as
placement of AED electrode pads when the victim has an implanted pacemaker, a
very hairy chest or a medication patch. Finally, training helps the rescuer be skilled in
performing CPR and efficient in delivering the shock in the shortest time possible —
these factors can improve survival from VF cardiac arrest.
Designated potential rescuers should complete training in CPR and the use of AEDs.
The American Heart Association developed a 3 1/2 - 4 hour course called Heartsaver
AED, available through EMS Training LTD 781-775-1609 or www.emstrainingltd.com