21.07.23 12:14 PM Comment(s)

What is an AED?

An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a portable device that analyses the heart's rhythm. Should the device detect that the casualty has an ineffective rhythm, it will then deliver an electrical shock in order to cause the heart to regain a healthy rhythm. The shock delivered can therefore assist in stopping an irregular heartbeat, allowing the casualty to regain a normal heart rhythm. An effective heart rhythm ensures the circulation of blood and much-needed oxygen effectively around the body.

Who can use an AED?

Anyone (basically). AED’s were designed with the intention that anyone (over the age of 12) should be able to use it. This includes all non-medical personnel, bystanders and… you! The purpose of these devices is to be accessible to anyone who may need it, as they need it.

Although these devices do not necessarily require training, or any certification to use them, it’s highly recommended that individuals are first aid trained when using one. This is as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is often required in conjunction with, or before/after the AED has been used.

How do I use and AED?

Upon finding and opening the AED, the rescuer should turn it on and follow the instructional voice ques (or the illustrated, or text instructions). There are likely to be graphics indicating where to place the conductive pads, and how to place them. The rescuer should then correctly place the pads on the casualty’s chest. An AED then assesses the casualties heart rhythm to determine whether the casualty has an irregular heartbeat. Should the AED detect that the casualty requires a shock, a voice will prompt the rescuer with instructions. These instructions are likely to involve asking all individuals to stay clear of the patient before a shock is administered (ensuring they are not shocked), and thereafter instructing continuation of CPR should a regular heart rhythm not be achieved as a result of the shock.

These instructions ensure effective use of the AED, assisting the user to ensure that the patient has the best chance  to achieve the intended outcome: a regular heartbeat. AED’s will only deliver  the shock if it is required. Therefore, it is extremely important that the AED measures the casualty’s heart rhythm prior to advising a shock. An AED cannot deliver a shock accidentally or without determining that it is required by the patient first.

AED’s are likely to be found in most public spaces, including shopping centres, large shopping malls, hotels, airports, etc.

When do you use an AED?

As previously mentioned, an AED is used when a casualty is in cardiac arrest. The device measures the individuals heart rhythm, and should it be irregular the device will shock the casualty’s heart in an attempt to  get it back to a normal rhythm.

Although AED’s can bring back a natural heart rhythm, they do not necessarily work after a shock is delivered. In certain instances, several shocks may be required or due to an underlying cause they may not be effective. For this reason, it is highly recommended that CPR is performed before, between and after shocks are delivered in order to  maintain circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Do you want to learn to perform CPR? Use an AED? Sign yourself up for one of our first aid courses now! We offer First Aid Level 1First Aid Level 1-3 and Paediatric CPR & Basic First Aid courses which will all provide you with sufficient knowledge to perform CPR. First aid level 1 is focused on adults, whereas the latter is focused on babies and children; first aid level 1-3 prepares you for anyone!