This blog post outlines how AED’s are used in conjunction with and not independent from CPR to save the life of victims of sudden cardiac arrest. To better understand this post we will give some key terminology definitions.
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation which is a lifesaving technique to help keep someone’s heart beating and therefore circulating oxygen throughout the body during a sudden cardiac event. The early compressions to a person’s chest are often done by pushing on the chest at a rate of 100 times per minute, with depth that is enough to break up the obstruction in their airway.
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator, this device can detect SCA by using an electric shock should it occur. AEDs are not used independently from CPR but rather in conjunction with the technique to save the victim’s life. More access to AED’s in public places for all first responders has a direct correlation to increased survival rates.
AEDs have three main components: electrode pads, power source (i.e., battery), and electronics system (i.e., computer). The electrodes pads must make contact with skin, usually around the victim’s torso near the anterior chest area. AEDs are not designed to be used for a complete shock, only as a backup in conjunction with CPR which consists of continued compression on the victim’s chest and breathing air into their lungs.
SCA is an abrupt loss of heart function. A person who has SCA is not able to take in enough oxygen and the blood does not circulate throughout the body. The victim will lose consciousness after a few seconds or minutes and they will stop breathing normally, if at all.
SCA can be caused by various factors such as; coronary artery disease; injury; and viral or bacterial infection. A sudden burst of electricity in the heart can also cause SCA, but it usually only occurs when someone has been exposed to lethal amounts of electric current.
Symptoms: When there is an interruption in blood flow because of SCA, this will lead to hypoxia (lack of oxygen). In this situation, it is imperative that CPR is started immediately. An untrained bystander can be told how to perform chest compressions by placing the heel of one hand at the center of a victim’s breastbone and then with two hands do five quick presses followed by thirty-second pauses for breaths (two sets each).
Defibrillation: AEDs are designed to detect a heart rhythm that needs an electric shock in order to return the heart to a normal rhythm. AEDs will analyze the patient’s cardiac rhythms and if it detects that there is abnormal electrical activity, AEDs can provide a shock of electricity sufficient enough to terminate SCA.
The difference between CPR with AED intervention and just CPR without is that an automated external defibrillator can detect SCA and provide the necessary electric shock needed to terminate it. A person who has AED intervention with CPR will have greater chances of survival than someone without AED intervention with or without a bystander performing chest compressions. The reason being is that if the victim is indeed suffering from SCA and the AED recognizes and shocks the heart into a normal rhythm, thereby establishing oxygenated blood pumping throughout the body, the victim would have a higher probability of making a full recovery. For this reason, AED training, CPR training along with the American Heart Association recommends the use of CPR in conjunction with an AED in case defibrillation is needed before trained medical professionals can arrive on the scene.
All suspected victims of SCA should receive immediate CPR but not all SCA victims receive a shock from an AED. The AED analyzes the heart rhythm of the victim and will not allow a shock to be administered if the victim’s heart is not suffering from SCA. These amazing lifesaving medical devices provide an electrical shock when needed to restart a normal rhythm of the heart. AEDs are essential to CPR because AEDs can detect SCA and provide a shock when needed.
“Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the use of chest compressions interspersed with artificial ventilation or mouth-to-mouth breaths to keep oxygenated blood circulating through the body.” MedlinePlus defines CPR as one way that it works. This technique will help keep someone’s heart beating and therefore circulate oxygen throughout their body during an episode of SCA. A sudden burst of electricity in the heart can also cause SCA so these electrical devices are designed also for victims who have accidentally been shocked by high levels of current. The quick use of an AED can sometimes be what saves a victim that has a heart that has stopped beating.
We’ve all seen the TV commercials that show people being saved by an AED, but what does it actually do? An AED is a device that can be used in conjunction with CPR to save someone who has experienced SCA. It sends electric shocks through the chest muscles and helps restore heart rhythm. The key takeaway from this blog post is not just how important an AED is for saving the lives of victims of SCA, but also how they are only effective when combined with quick-acting CPR. When you think about your workplace or school environment where there may not always be immediate access to emergency medical services, this knowledge becomes more crucial than ever before. If you want help understanding how the use of the lifesaving AED machine along with the quick use of CPR, contact AED USA today to learn more about training for SCA events in your home or organization today.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, is used when a person’s heart stops beating. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a device that can be used on people who are experiencing SCA and it’s often used in conjunction with CPR to save them.
People whose heart stops are often saved when CPR and AEDs are used together. An AED can be found in most public areas for any who comes across a possible SCA victim.
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