Those people who are fans of TV dramas are likely to have at one time or another seen someone shocked back to life after having electric plates put on their chest and the medic shouting “clear!”. The machine that is used to do that is called a defibrillator and is not just limited to use within a medical setting.
Devices known as automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are used in the community in places such as schools, community centres, shopping malls, and other public places. They are lightweight, portable, and are available for use without the requirement of a prescription.
Anyone who has a chronic heart disease and so may be at risk of going into a sudden cardiac arrest should seriously consider having an AED in their home. However, they are only useful if you suffer from a very specific type of heart rhythm issue. Before purchasing one for your own personal use, make sure that you talk the options through with your doctor.
When Is One Required?
An AED is used to help bring someone back from almost certain death in the event of a cardiac arrest. This type of medical emergency is typically caused by a disruption to the electrical activity of the heart which makes it beat either irregularly or really fast to the point where it becomes highly dangerous. As a result of this, the heart stops pumping correctly and in the most severe cases might actually stop beating altogether.
If this happens and there is an AED to hand, it can be used to shock the heart into beating at its normal rhythm, thus saving the person’s life. Although you do not need to be medically trained in order to use one, CPR Select does run a number of courses that train you on how to use an AED and even become accredited in their use.
Using an AED
Before using an AED, you must first check if the person has a pulse and if they are breathing. If both of their vital signs are negative then at this point you should call for the emergency services. Once the AED is in hand, it should be switched on and then you should follow the step by step points that are given via voice instruction. Once the pads are in place, the AED does the rest and administers the correct level of shock for the particular situation.
After the shock has been given, you should then start with Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you do not know how to administer chest compressions then do not worry as, again, the AED will guide you through doing this. If you purchase an AED for use within your home, you can watch the video material that comes with it as often as you like in order to keep your skills sharp and the knowledge front of mind. However, they are very expensive and are not covered by your insurance so having one may not be right for your personal situation.