Using an AED

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Essential Guide to Using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Understanding how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) during a cardiac arrest can save lives by restoring the heart's rhythm before professional medical help arrives.

The Role of an AED in Cardiac Arrest

During a cardiac arrest, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) helps circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. An AED is crucial as it delivers a controlled electric shock to help the heart potentially restart its normal rhythm.

Availability of AEDs

AEDs are not only carried by medical professionals but are also widely available in public spaces such as businesses, schools, and community centres. The introduction of the CellAED, a smaller, personal AED unit, has made it possible for these life-saving devices to be accessible even in homes due to their compact size and lower cost.

Operating an AED

AEDs are designed to be user-friendly, and even untrained bystanders can use them effectively with guidance from emergency operators.

Step-by-Step Usage

Here’s how to use an AED:

  • Locate the nearest AED unit. In public areas, these are often found in clearly marked cabinets.
  • Follow the voice prompts provided by the AED. Place the pads on the patient as indicated by the instructions.
  • Ensure that no one is touching the patient when the AED is analysing or preparing to deliver a shock. This prevents poor readings and accidental shocks.

During the Emergency

Once the AED is set up, it will instruct you through each step of the process, from placing the pads correctly to performing shocks. Emergency operators on a 999 call can also assist you throughout the procedure.

Knowing how to use an AED can significantly increase the chances of survival during a cardiac arrest. Familiarise yourself with the location of AEDs in your area and understand their basic operation to be prepared in an emergency.