Cardiac arrest is one of the most common causes of death in the world. Cardiac arrest treatment has advanced considerably in recent years due to the technological advancements of the modern automated external defibrillator (AED).
This blog will explain what an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is as well as how to use an AED to save a life. We will also explain what the AED abbreviation stands for.
SCA is the leading cause of death in the United States. SCA is when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, stopping blood flow to the body. There are two leading causes of cardiac arrests: atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD) and non-atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (non-CAD). When you have an SCA event your chance of survival decreases by 10% for each minute that goes by without treatment.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends two types of interventions for cardiac arrest:
When someone has a cardiac arrest, the first line of defense is CPR, also known as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which is performed by administering chest compressions to the victim. If the person is suffering from SCA, however, it necessitates the use of a defibrillator to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
Each day millions of people die due to cardiac diseases and other cardiac health categories. Half of these die on their way to the hospital. Ventricular fibrillation is the interruption or disturbance in the heart rhythm that leads to SCA. Moreover, Ventricular fibrillation is considered the most common cause of cardiac arrest.
Ventricular Fibrillation is a lethal arrhythmia that can be reversed if an AED is used within 3-5 minutes after the onset of the arrhythmia. AEDs are programmed to recognize ventricular fibrillation and deliver a shock to the heart, which restores the heart’s normal rhythm.
Automated: Controlled or operated by automation.
External: Is used to indicate that something is on the outside of a surface or body, or that it exists, happens, or comes from outside.
Defibrillator: an apparatus used to control heart fibrillation by the application of an electric current to the chest wall or heart.
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator and there are currently 6 main FDA-issued AED manufacturers in the US for public access defibrillation. This amazing medical equipment has made the process of treating individuals suffering from SCA considerably more efficient. External defibrillators have been shown to be beneficial in saving lives during cardiac arrest. It continuously monitors, diagnoses, and treats cardiac arrest patients to return to their normal heart rhythm.
In simple words, public access defibrillators are easy-to-use, sophisticated devices that monitor a person’s heartbeat and then deliver shock or defibrillation accordingly to bring back the person’s normal heart rhythm. However, there are some implantable versions of defibrillators for patients who are at risk for SCA. This blog focuses on external defibrillators and how AEDs have reduced the probability of sudden cardiac death at the hands of SCA.
This portable electronic device is very efficient and can quickly diagnose the cause of arrhythmias. Whether the victim is suffering from ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia, an AED will analyze and treat with defibrillation. The defibrillation method includes delivering a specific voltage shock to the heart to restore the normal heart rhythm.
The latest AEDs’ sophisticated capabilities are now available to new users, making it rather simple and straightforward to utilize. The newest version of the automated external defibrillator’s voice and visual instructions are quite effective.
Although modern AEDs are designed to function without the need for extensive training, most of them include simple voice commands to guide even an inexperienced user through the lifesaving procedure of CPR and defibrillation. In addition, some AED models also include video and visual instructions.
The modern automatic external defibrillator will guide you through the placement of the adhesive electrode pads on the victim’s bare chest. The AED will automatically monitor and analyze the ECG rhythm of the patient and will evaluate whether the patient needs a shock or not.
Typically the AED would instruct the responder to step back from the victim while the AED is analyzing the ECG rhythm through the PAD electrodes. The Physio-Control CR2 AED is the first AED on the market that can analyze the rhythm of the victim while the responder continues to provide CPR compressions. This is an amazing achievement allowing a responder to keep oxygen artificially pumping through the body for longer periods of time. These additional efforts allow oxygenated blood to circulate through the body and give the victim a better chance of survival.
Most people don’t realize that SCS does not only happen to older adults. SCA does not recriminate and can happen to anyone, including children and young adults. Children and youth are often smaller than adults and the amount of electrical shock that should be provided is often less for younger victims and for pediatric use.
Pediatric AED Pad Electrodes are designed specifically for children and deliver a lower shock than adult pads. AED manufacturers design pediatric pads to be used on victims aged 8 and under, weighing less than 55 pounds.
Pediatric electrode pads are similar to adult pads in that they allow the AED to analyze and deliver a shock to an SCA victim, but if required, a much lower life-saving shock is produced by the defibrillator. The primary difference between adult and pediatric electrode pads is that the energy level of a shock is much lower in children. In most cases, the energy required for adults is reduced from 150 joules to 50 joules to restore the effective rhythm.
When it comes to saving lives, every second counts. Automated external defibrillators provide responders with the ability to immediately shock a victim back into a normal rhythm.
The first thing you should do if you witness a suspected SCA emergency is call 911. Unfortunately, the average response time for a trained medical professional is to arrive in 8-12 minutes, and for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the survival rate decreases by 10%. The need for AED knowledge and equipment in the event of an SCA occurrence is obvious. As a result, CPR/AED courses or classes are encouraged to help the medical emergency department save more lives.
Modern AED machines are designed to be operated by an untrained responder even with minimal training. Their ease of use has improved exponentially over the last decade and some models even offer videos to instruct the responder on how to save a life.
Each AED manufacturer focuses on making it easier to use so that their device can be used by untrained individuals. In comparison to these, more advanced AEDs employed by medical department professionals are more difficult to operate.
The sole purpose of AED is to reduce life-threatening cardiac disorders and increase the survival rate. It is used to quickly treat SCA due to complex arrhythmias. The thing to note here is that SCA is completely different from a heart attack. Therefore it requires different therapy.
AED medical device usually treats the following disorders (with early defibrillation) to restore the heart’s effective rhythm in the victim:
Ventricular fibrillation is a heartbeat disorder that causes the heart’s ventricles to quiver (fibrillate). This abnormal rhythm prevents the heart from effectively pumping blood to the body. As a result, the person may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or syncope (fainting). If left untreated, ventricular fibrillation will lead to SCA.
SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. This can lead to death if not successfully treated immediately. SCA usually occurs due to an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), such as ventricular fibrillation. When the heart’s electrical system malfunctions
The delivery of oxygen-rich blood to the body is vital. Any portion that loses access to adequate blood flow will be unable to operate. If this interruption in supplying oxygenated blood to all regions of the body does not cease immediately, it can result in brain damage or sudden death.
Defibrillation is a treatment for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias that cause an abnormally fast, slow, or irregular heart rate. When a person is in shock from ventricular fibrillation, a device called a defibrillator may be used to deliver a therapeutic electrical shock designed to restore the heart back to its normal rhythm.
The process of applying a shock to the chest to treat ventricular fibrillation is known as defibrillation. Patients in coronary care units usually survive ventricular fibrillation because they get quick defibrillation. But if a victim gets ventricular fibrillation outside the hospital setting, the situation becomes the opposite.
For every moment that passes while the victim remains in ventricular fibrillation and defibrillation is not provided, the chances of his survival minimize. The chances of resuscitating the patient in cardiac arrest become zero after ten minutes.
CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and is a first-aid emergency procedure that combines chest compressions and artificial ventilation in an effort to preserve brain function until further treatment can be given. CPR is used on patients who are not responding or breathing and have a pulse.
Chest compression is the main focus of CPR. This is where you push down hard and fast on the victim’s chest to circulate the blood. The idea is to compress the heart so that it will start pumping again. If done correctly, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
Artificial ventilation is the act of breathing for the patient. This can be done by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or with an artificial respirator. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is not taught as often as it used to be, but it is still the best way to provide artificial ventilation.
If a person has a pulse but is not breathing, you should start CPR immediately and then use an AED if one is available. If a person does not have a pulse, begin CPR and then use an AED as soon as possible.
Note that CPR can’t permanently treat ventricular fibrillation. Defibrillation is the only method to reverse ventricular fibrillation to restore the heart to a normal rhythm.
Ventricular tachycardia is a type of arrhythmia that causes the heart to beat too fast. This can lead to a number of problems, including chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or syncope (fainting). If left untreated, ventricular tachycardia can lead to SCA and can be fatal.
On the other hand, if multiple episodes of abnormally fast heart rate are experienced, it is considered an electrical storm. But the most dangerous thing about ventricular tachycardia is that it comes up without any symptoms or initial signs. Ventricular tachycardia is mostly the initial state of fibrillation. In other words, tachycardia leads to fibrillation, which can turn into cardiac arrest.
Many AEDs are now available in public buildings, spaces, and venues to deliver quick defibrillation. If you happen to encounter a person you suspect is suffering from SCA you should follow the following steps:
AEDs are truly a modern marvel. The technology is amazing in that it can automatically recognize cardiac arrest and deliver an electrical shock to save the life of an SCA victim. It is important to remember that using an AED is just one step in helping to save a person’s life. The most important thing is to always call for help and to have someone ready to use the AED when it is needed.
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