AED vs CPR: Which One’s Better?
When it comes to saving a life, any possible method should do; but what would you do if you are presented with two methods that both work? Which one wold you go for? If the situation involves victims suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, studies suggest that, if the AED fails, go for the CPR.
An AED, or an Automated External Defibrillator, is a portable device that is able to administer electric “shocks” that allow the heart to start pumping blood throughout the body again. One has to keep in mind that, when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest, the primary aim of the lay responder is to restore blood circulation, albeit in a artificial manner, in order to ensure that tissue necrosis is avoided. In most cases, tissue necrosis takes place as a result of the lack of needed oxygen. That being said, necrosis, therefore, occurring in major organs can be fatal and could lead to death. With an artificial blood circulation in place, the organs would, somehow, still have access to needed oxygen.
In most cases, AEDs are used first since they are able to offer the lay responders visual and verbal instruction on how to use the device as well as how to administer CPR. A single electric shock from an AED could also help jumpstart the heart’s ability to pump blood which is important in restoring normal blood circulation. However, there are cases when an AED could fail to work. In situations like these, medical professionals suggest the use of continuous chest compressions instead. For example, studies have shown that AEDs tend to be more effective if the situation involves a patient suffering from pulseless ventricular tachycardia as well as cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation. In cases where asystole and pulseless electrical activities is concerned, also known as nonshockable arrhythmias, an AED might not be as effective. Unfortunately, out of the many cases of sudden cardiac arrhythmia, majority involve arrhythmias that do not respond to an electric shock that could be given by an AED.
To further give credence to the importance of chest compressions, according to a study done by Dr. Peter J. Kudenchuk of the University of Washington in Seattle, if lay responders as well as paramedics focus more on delivering continuous chest compression rather than take time in order to analyze the data being churned out by the AED unit, there is a marked increase in the probability of the victim being able to sustain normal blood circulation as well as be able to survive their condition for one more year.
Studies published at the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, on the other hand, indicate that continuous chest compressions are actually able to increase by more than half the likelihood of positive neurological outcome compared to those whose CPR involve minute pauses in order to administer artificial respiration.