If you’ve taken one of our classes, you’ve heard us talk about AED’s or Automated External Defibrillators.
Early access to an AED greatly increases the chance of saving the life of someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital.
What is an AED?
An AED is one of the best tools available to the public to help increase survival for people suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest or SCA. AED’s provide an electrical shock to the victim, if needed. AED’s are responsible for saving many lives. They can save more lives if there are more available for bystanders to use.
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What is a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
A Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is when someone’s heart stops beating normally and stops pumping blood to the body’s organs. The most common type of Sudden Cardiac Arrest is called Ventricular Fibrillation or “VF”. Sudden Cardiac Arrests are caused when the electrical signals that contract the muscles of the heart do not work normally. The sign of someone having a Sudden Cardiac Arrest is sudden loss of consciousness for apparently no reason. If someone drops unconscious for no obvious reason, chances are they are experiencing a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Anyone can suffer from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. A few examples of circumstances that could potentially cause a heart to experience a SCA include: use of illicit drugs, an impact to the chest such as with a baseball or being hit, and drowning in fresh water. Performing CPR with the use of an AED provides a much better chance of survival for the victim.
Approximately 400,000 people a year have a Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the United States. When someone has a sudden cardiac arrest their chances of survival without help drops about 10% every minute. CPR will help keep oxygen going to their organs but will do nothing to get the heart beating normally again. A shock delivered to the heart from an AED can get the victim’s heart beating normally again. The sooner someone can place an AED on a victim the better their chances of survival.
Why do I need an AED?
An AED is a tool designed to help save lives. When you perform CPR on someone you should get an AED to use with CPR. An AED supercharges the effectiveness of CPR and increases the chances of survival. The sooner an AED is placed on a victim, the better their chances of survival are. Why wait for EMS to arrive in 10+ minutes for them to apply their own defibrillator, when you could have one on the victim immediately.
Who is allowed to use an AED?
Anyone. If you are physically capable of placing the pads on the victim you can use an AED. Anytime someone is performing CPR and an AED is available it should be used. You cannot hurt anyone with an AED. You can only make things better, not worse. It is impossible to deliver a shock to someone who does not need it due to the way AED’s are programmed and function. It will only deliver a shock to a person if their heart is in a rhythm that can be treated with a shock. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF USING AN AED, you can’t make anything worse by using one.