Defibrillation is a controlled electric shock given to the heart in order to overcome a life threatening cardiac arrest or arrhythmia. The shock attempts to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal.
AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators), when used instantly after a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, i.e. within the first 3-5 minutes can dramatically increase a victim’s chance of survival from currently what is currently less 5% to as much as 70%.
An AED or a portable defibrillator will automatically analyse the rhythm of the heart of a person who does not have a pulse and determine if a shock is needed. Accordingly, it will send controlled electric impulses to shock the heart in order to restore its normal rhythm and pattern.
Typically, AEDs are simple devices that are designed to be used by the layperson. Use this map-based website to find out the location of the AED or hospital nearest to your workplace, so that you are prepared in case an emergency strikes.
In case a person around you suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, the following steps should be followed to save his/her life till emergency medical care services arrive:
Part 1 – Preparing to Use an AED
Step1: Call 000
The moment you notice a person who collapse or a person who appears to have an emergency episode, immediately call for medical assistance.
If no one else is around, make the call first before attending to the victim. Provide all the necessary information about the episode as required by the emergency care services.
If there are other people around, make sure a person is designated to call 000 and seek help.
Step2: Check the victim
Check the breathing and pulse of the victim. If no pulse or breath is found, begin CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) immediately. Use the ABC method to check the victim’s breathing and pulse.
- A – Airway: First check the airway is open before you check for breathing. In order to do this, tilt the victim’s head back and lift his chin. If there is an object obstructing the airway, remove it.
- B – Breathing: Get close to the victims mouth or nose to feel the breathing. Lean in to listen for breathing or look to see if the chest is rising or falling.
- C – Circulation: If the victim is breathing, they would have a pulse. However, if no signs of breathing are found, confirm if the victim has a pulse.
Step3: Begin CPR
If no breathing or pulse is located, begin CPR immediately. CPR should be administered at a rate of 2 breaths followed by 30 compression of 4-5 cm.
- In order to perform CPR, place two fingers on the edge of the sternum.
- Next place the heel of the other hand just above the fingers.
- Lift the fingers and place this hand on top of the other hand.
- Interlock the fingers and lift them above the victim’s body.
- Lock the elbows and use your weight to begin pressing down on the victim’s chest.
- Press down a few inches (not more than 4-5 inches) for about 30 times and then administer 2 rescue breaths.
- Repeat this cycle 4 times and then check for pulse and breathing.
- Stop in case the person regains consciousness or starts to breathe.
Part 2 – Using an AED
Step 1: Locate and fetch the AED
In order to save critical minutes, it is best if the location of the AED is known. If your workplace has an AED, use these signs to help your employees quickly locate an AED or else use the Heart Attack Help map to find out where the defibrillator nearest to your workplace is located.
When an emergency strikes, ask another person to take over the CPR while you fetch the AED.
Step 2: Make sure the patient is dry
Water is a conductor of electricity. So if the victim is wet or if there is water in the vicinity, it could cause further damage to the victim and to you.
Make sure the victim is dried out completely and, if required, moved to a dry place.
Step 3: Turn on the AED and prepare the patient’s chest area
After switching on the AED, start preparing the patient.
- Follow any visual or voice prompts that the AEDs has.
- Open shirts and remove any jewellery or other metallic items around the victim’s chest area.
- Check if there are signs of a pacemaker, an implant device or a piercing.
Step 4: Attach the pads to the chest
Follow the diagrams given on the AED or on the pads themselves to correctly apply the chest pads. The location of the electrodes is important so that the maximum amount of shock necessary is delivered correctly to the victim.
In the case of an implant, device or a piercing, leave at least one inch from it while placing the device.
Step 5: Deliver the shock, if advised
The AED will analyse the condition of the victim and decide if a shock should be delivered or not. Press the ‘deliver shock’ button only if and when guided by the AED. Ensure everyone is clear of the victim and then deliver the shock.
Continue to perform CPR thereafter and follow the voice prompts of the AED. The Alsco AED provides you feedback on the quality of your CPR and whether you need to push harder or slower.
Perform CPR for 2 minutes or if the victim can breathe or has regained consciousness.
Remember, the speed of performing CPR and defibrillation is critical in this entire process. Therefore, it is important that you know where your nearest AED is located. Use Heart Attack Help and find out now.