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6 Do’s And Don’ts Of Using An Automated External Defibrillator (AED)


Automated External Defibrillator

6 Do’s And Don’ts Of Using An Automated External Defibrillator (AED): Today, technology has brought in various medical advancements, which can help promote and improve patient safety during emergencies such as cardiac arrest. One of those devices is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). 

AED is a medical device meant to deliver an electric shock to victims of a sudden cardiac arrest. When AED is used promptly, arrhythmia may be treated, and the heartbeat can be restored to its normal rhythm. 

However, it’d be good to note that just like other medical equipment, adequate knowledge about the device and caution are both important to operate an AED effectively. In fact, wrongful use of an AED machine may only cause more harm than any good intended. 

Hence, the need to know what you should and shouldn’t do when operating an AED. Getting proper training from experts who describes it accurately is a major plus too.

In this article, you’ll come across some of the do’s and don’ts to remember when using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

The Do’s

  • Do Stand Clear From The Patient

If you’re not the one using the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) machine, it’s important to stay away. Instruct everyone else, too, to stay clear from the patient and the individual using the AED. This is because the delivery of electric shock may be quite strong. You wouldn’t want to harm anyone else, particularly the bystanders who might be unaware of what an AED is.

  • Do Follow All The Voice Prompts

When the AED is switched on, a voice prompt will ensue. Be sure to carefully follow the voice prompts and instructions. That should be your guide to the safe use of the machine.

  • Do Remove Clothing Before Use

Before attaching the pads of the AED, you have to remove any clothing covering the patient’s chest area. That way, you can make way for using the AED without any obstructions. If the chest area is wet or sweaty, wipe it dry.

Once this is done, each pad must be placed on the upper right and left sides of the chest, just below the armpit. 

The Don’ts

  • Don’t Use The AED When Not Necessary

AED devices are usually placed in public places like schools, malls, police stations, and churches. This doesn’t mean, however, that it can be used during all types of health emergencies. There’s only one health emergency when an AED can be used: a sudden cardiac arrest. No other health emergency can be treated with an AED.

With that said, it’s very crucial to learn how to spot a sudden cardiac arrest. Some of the most common signs include an unresponsive patient, one who suddenly fainted, doesn’t appear to be breathing well and is in a seizure-like state. You can use an AED while waiting for emergency rescue to arrive.

  • Don’t Use On A Wet Victim

If the victim is wet or there’s water around, never use the AED. Note that water and electricity don’t go together.

Electricity will always take the path where there’s least resistance. This means that rather than travel through the body, the electricity from the AED will only travel through the water. This may result in the electrocution and death of the patient.

  • Don’t Use During A Heart Attack

A heart attack and a cardiac arrest aren’t the same. Unfortunately, many individuals still make the mistake of confusing both. A heart attack can happen when the blood flow gets restricted. On the other hand, a cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating. With that said, be very careful about this. 

Different emergency response protocols have to be followed during a cardiac arrest and a heart attack. Remember this general rule: an AED isn’t meant to help a heart attack victim. It may only cause them more harm.

The main distinction between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack is that with the latter, the patient may be in pain, but still responsive and breathing. If the patient is not breathing and is unresponsive, that’s when you know you’re dealing with a cardiac arrest.

Final Thoughts

Cardiac arrests are fatal. Those first few seconds after the attack are crucial to spell the difference between life and death. Medical equipment like an AED is a life-saver. But this device can only function as well as they’re operated accurately. That said, the wrongful use of an AED machine won’t do anything to help save the life of the patient.

Keeping in mind the do’s and don’ts mentioned above can be a good start in learning how to operate an AED machine. However, if you want to, taking an AED training course can certainly help.

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