WHAT IS AN AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR-AED
An automated external defibrillator, better know by its abbreviation "AED", is a device that assists you when helping a person who has collapsed to the ground. It may save his or her life.
This small, battery-operated, device is easily transportable and simple to use. Anyone can use it, with or without cardiovascular resuscitation (CPR) training.
Posters indicating where to find them
Pictograms with a lightning bolt and the acronym of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) are increasingly found in public places.
They indicate where you can find an AED. It is important to know how to locate them.
The AED has a CPR assistance function as well as the ability to deliver an electric shock in case of life-threatening arrhythmia. Once placed on the person’s chest, it simultaneously recognizes the heart rate and clearly indicates to the person or persons assisting the victim the steps to follow to save a life.
Why it is important
Excluding hospitals, 8 out of 10 cardiac arrests occur at home or in public places. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), accompanied by defibrillation (electric shock to the heart), increase the chance of survival of the victim of cardiac arrests by up to 85%.
Every minute, every second counts
The chances of a person surviving a cardiac arrest while suffering from fatal ventricular fibrillation-like arrhythmia decrease by 7% to 10% every minute until defibrillation occurs.
Therefore, a simple calculation indicates that 10 minutes of cardiac arrest without intervention greatly weaken the possibility of surviving.
A person is on the ground!
There are several possible causes for someone to fall to the ground. Everyone is able to help.
Is he or she unconscious?
First, we must see if they are conscious. “Sir, Madam! Do you hear me! Squeeze your hand if you hear me!”
The person is unconscious and does not respond; we call for help. Someone has to dial 911.
CPR must begin!
If anyone knows about CPR; this person must take over. People around him or her are there to help.
If nobody knows about CPR
If nobody knows CPR, the situation can still be dealt with! The 911 respondent can help and the presence of an AED close by helps even more.
An AED is available
When you call for help, someone brings you an AED.
Everything is fine! Stay calm!
Follow the vocal instructions
Take out the defibrillator from the pouch or box where it is stored. Open it by lifting the handle or plastic lid on top of it, as indicated.
The device starts up automatically and issues a message giving step-by-step operating instructions:
- Apply electrodes to the patient’s bare chest.
Drawings on the electrodes guide you in applying them at the right place.
- Plug in the electrode connector next to the flashing light.
The flashing light is located on the case of the device; connection is easily done.
- A message is heard: “Patient heart rate analysis in progress! No one should touch the patient.”
The device assesses the electrical activity of the patient’s heart. From this point on, a vocal guide tells you how to continue resuscitation maneuvers. If the analysis shows a fatal arrhythmia, the device will say:
“Shock recommended! Device in charge! Stay away from the patient!”
Make sure that no one touches the patient!
- Vocal guide carries on:
“Deliver shock now!” “Press the orange button now!”
- “Shock delivered.” Pause.
- If necessary, apply CPR now.
The device guides the person through resuscitation efforts. A second shock is given if the patient did not react to the first one.
At times, the electric shock is not necessary
Some situations do not require electric shocks. In this case, the device has not detected lethal arrhythmia.
The device then indicates the sequence of the following actions. For example, it can tell you that CPR is necessary and will guide you through the reanimation steps.
Continue the actions until first responders arrive.
The device is also equipped with a recorder. It is therefore possible to review the sequence and see if the reanimation was done according to the device’s instructions.
This helps give "feedback" to the person (s) assisting the patient.
You can change the course of things for someone who has collapsed to the ground and does not respond.
The quick installation of an AED significantly improves the chances of survival where every second and every minute count.
All can use an AED. Just follow the vocal instructions.