It is estimated that approximately 400,000 people die in the United States annually from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Sudden Cardiac Arrest means that the heart has stopped beating or is beating ineffectively. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can shock the heart from an abnormal rhythm back to a normal rhythm. AEDs are now available in most public places including; airports, train stations, shopping centers, workplaces, gyms, and schools. Learning to use an AED is surprisingly simple. Many people report that it is far easier than learning CPR. They are designed to be used by anyone, even those who have not had prior training, although AED classes are available and encouraged so responders feel more competent and confident to use them.
AEDs are lightweight and battery operated. AEDs automatically analyze heart rhythms after the pads are placed on the casualty and indicate with a voice or visual prompt when to administer a shock. Some fully automated AEDs administer a shock without the responder having to push the button. Most AEDs even include a voice prompting mechanism to talk the responder through the steps of CPR.
The AED first checks the casualty’s heart rhythm to determine if a shock is needed; an AED will only administer a shock (or a series of shocks at fixed or escalating doses) if the casualty needs it. Some AEDs can accurately recognize shockable heart rhythms in children from ages 1 to 8 years old, and some are equipped to delivery energy doses suitable for children. If an AED is used for a child casualty, check to see if Child AED pads are available with the AED. If the Child pads are available, follow the directions. If only Adult pads are available, place one pad on the child’s back and one pad on the front of the chest in the middle. (Follow the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s recommendations for using AEDs with infants under the age of 1 year old.)If you are with a person who may be having or may have had a heart attack, always check if an AED is available and immediately call (or have someone call) 9-1-1 or Emergency Medical Services.
Automated External Defibrillation (AED) is something everyone should know, but is not something you can learn by reading a great article like this, nor with online training. Current research indicates that the chance of surviving Sudden Cardiac Arrest is improved by up to 70% if an AED is used within the first few minutes. Find out what to do with so little time, by signing up for AED Training at your location... check out American CPR Training™