Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone of any age. When this sudden and unfortunate event happens, it’s crucial that treatment can be administered as soon as possible.
The best and most effective treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is to use an AED. If one is on hand to be used right away, the person’s chances of survival are much higher; in fact it’s 90 % if used within one minute of a sudden cardiac arrest. However, as time passes before the AED is used, survival rates quickly drop by 10 % each minute!
This is why it is important that work environments and popular public spaces stock a Lifeline AED so that SCA sufferers stand a higher chance of survival should the unfortunate happen.
While an AED might look like a complicated and potentially scary piece of equipment to use on someone, they are actually very simple.
High-quality brands, like our Lifeline range, are actually designed with the public in mind, easy to use with an intuitive design and step by step instructions.
Step by step guide to using an AED
Before using the AED
- Circumstances – When should an AED be used? An AED is required when a person is completely unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing normally or at all.
- Call 999 – When this situation happens, the first thing to do is call the emergency services so they can be enroute while you treat them with the AED.
- Act Fast – Once you’ve called the emergency services, your aim should be to administer the AED shock as soon as possible, within the first minute, once you have safely understood how to use it.
Using the AED
Step One – Turn on your AED. Lifeline AED’s have a prominent green ON button. Once pressed you will be prompted to call the emergency services before further instruction is given.
Step Two – Next, the AED will tell you to remove the pads from the pack in the back of the defibrillator.
Once you’ve located the pads, you will be instructed to place them on the person’s chest as shown in the images that are within the pack.
The images will show one pad on the left side of the chest under their armpit and the second pad underneath the collar bone on the right side of the chest.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is crucial that you place the pads on the person’s bare chest. They should not be placed over clothing as the shock will be ineffective and won’t work.
Step three – The AED will now analyse the patient’s heart rhythm. No one must touch the patient at this time so that the machine can get a correct reading. Ensure people are stood away from the patient, shouting ‘stand clear’ if required.
The machine will determine if a shock is needed. If it is, it will say ‘Shock advised. Charging. Stand clear’.
At this point, you need to check no one is in contact with the person again and clearly, shout ‘Stand Clear’.
Step 4 – Once the unit has finished charging, it will tell you to press the flashing shock button, which will flash on the front of the AED. Press this button to administer the shock.
Step 5 – After you have given the shock to the patient, the machine will tell you when it’s finished, when it’s safe to touch them, and when to start CPR.
The device will provide a rhythm for you to match when giving CPR and will do this for two minutes when the machine will re-analyse the patient’s heart rhythm to determine if another shock is needed. The AED will continue to do this until the emergency services can take over.
It’s important to understand that each cardiac arrest may be different. It may only take one shock for the person to become responsive or bring their heart rhythm back to normal.
If this is the case, you can stop using the AED and await the emergency services to take them to hospital.
However, you might find you will need to do several rounds of shocks before they are brought back or until the emergency services arrive.