An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that mechanically diagnoses life-threatening cardiac events and treats them through defibrillation until emergency responders arrive. An AED device can be crucial in saving a life. However, confusion and chaos frequently occur during cardiac emergencies because no one knows what to do or who should do it. Here is how you can prepare to assist and calmly respond during a cardiac crisis by learning when and how to appropriately use an AED.
- A person could be in cardiac distress if they suddenly collapse or are found unconscious.
- First, confirm the person is unconscious. Check for responsiveness by shouting at or gently shaking or pinching the person.
- If the person does not respond, call 911. If you are not alone, instruct a specific person to call 911.
- Check the person’s airway for obstructions.
- If the person is not breathing, instruct a specific person to begin CPR while you get the AED, or vice versa. If you are alone, begin CPR first.
- CPR should be done for 2 minutes, with a ratio of 2 breaths per 30 chest compressions.
- Use the AED after one complete cycle of CPR.
- Be sure that the person and space around him is completely dry and clear of people.
- Remove clothing above the waist. The chest area should be bare of jewelry, metal accessories, and other objects. Most AEDs provide a razor or scissors to shave chests and cut clothes.
- Turn on the defibrillator. There will be instructions to follow.
- Place the sticky pads on the victim’s bare chest.
- Correct placement is one pad below the collarbone of their right side, and one placed below their left breast.
- Pads must be flat against the skin of the victim.
- Pads should be placed at least one inch away from implants or piercings.
- Press the ANALYZE button. It will inform you if a shock needs to be delivered.
- No shock advised; continue CPR until emergency services arrive.
- A shock is advised; clear the area around the victim and press the SHOCK button.
- Continue CPR immediately following the shock.
- After 2 minutes, utilize the AED to ANALYZE the person’s condition again.
- If the victim regains consciousness, or can breathe on their own, STOP using the AED and STOP CPR.
- Do not use an AED on children younger than 8 years old (or below 40kg/85lbs) unless using pediatric electrode pads.
- Do not use the AED on conductive surfaces (water, metal, fluids etc.) to avoid electrocution.
- Do not touch the person while a shock is being delivered.
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