The stories are all too familiar – someone suffers a cardiac arrest and an AED was not on site to help revive the individual. In fact, only 19 states in the U.S. require that their schools are equipped with AEDs. When a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases by 7% to 10% for each minute that passes without defibrillation. AEDs make it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. According to studies, 90% of the time, AEDs are able to detect a rhythm that should be defibrillated – and 95% they can detect when a rhythm should not be defibrillated. AED’s can be made part of emergency response programs that also include rapid use of 9-1-1 and prompt delivery of CPR. All three of these activities are vital to improving survival from cardiac arrest.
What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires shock, and if needed, send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps to take. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.
Who Can Use an AED?
Because AEDs are portable, they can be used by nonmedical people, such as police, fire service personnel, flight attendants, security guards and others who have been properly trained to operate them. An AED operator must know how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate the EMS system, and how to do CPR – so it’s also vital that they receive formal training on the AED model they will use so that they become familiar with the device and are able to successfully operate it in an emergency. The American Heart Association recommends that anyone who lives or works where an AED is available for use by lay rescuers participate in a Heartsaver AED class. AEDs, in fact, are so user-friendly that untrained rescuers can generally succeed in attaching the pads and delivering shocks. Untrained rescuers, however, may not know when to use an AED, and they may not use an AED safely, posing some danger of electric shock to themselves and others. Also, untrained rescuers may not know how to respond to the victim when the AED prompts “no shock indicated”.
How Do I Learn How to Use an AED?
CPR Consultants and The Response Institute offers a variety of emergency training classes, including AED training. We provide state of the art equipment, monitoring, training, and supplies for automated external defibrillators. Contact us online or at 866-990-2772 for more information.
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Sources: heart.org, myheartmap, sca-aware.org, nih.gov, www.foh.dhhs.gov