Once turned on and connected to the patient, the AED analyses the patient’s heart rhythm to determine if one of two treatable heart rhythms are present. The AED analyses whether Ventricular Fibrillation (pulseless, chaotic quivering of the heart, also called v-fib) or Ventricular Tachycardia (life-threatening rapid heartbeat, also called v-tach), is present.
If either of these two rhythms is detected, the AED will charge in readiness of a shock being delivered.
When the shock is administered, an electrical charge will flow between the electrode pads on the patient’s chest and into the heart. This electric shock effectively stops the chaotic rhythm and the heart’s own built-in pacemaker kicks in. The shock basically restarts the heart, allowing it to reset at a normal rhythm, known as sinus rhythm.
The AED voice prompts will walk the first responder through the event from the time the AED is turned on until emergency services arrive.
Are AEDs safe?
YES! Rest assured you cannot accidentally shock someone with an AED. The AED will not shock someone who is not in cardiac arrest.
The AED is continually monitoring a patient’s heart rhythm and if it detects a ‘shockable’ rhythm, it will advise a shock is required. Through clear and easy to follow verbal prompts, the AED will either instruct everyone to stand clear of the patient if a fully-automatic AED is being used, or to push the shock button if a semi-automatic AED is being used.
If no ‘shockable’ rhythm is detected, the AED will continue to provide, clear and easy to follow verbal prompts as to the required action to be taken by the first responder.
Who can use an AED?
Basically, anyone who can follow audible instruction can use an AED! You do not need specialised training to use an AED. In fact they are designed to allow less trained individuals to provide lifesaving defibrillation to patients experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
If all the links in the sudden cardiac arrest chain of survival are followed, the likelihood of a full neurological and cardiac recovery is greatly enhanced. Every minute counts!