Automated External Defibrillators: Saving Lives Then And Now

February 26, 2016Comments Off on Automated External Defibrillators: Saving Lives Then And Now

One of the causes of cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death in different parts of the world is a sudden disturbance in the heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. This occurrence cuts off blood supply to the brain and vital organs of the body causing them to fail. In some cases, it can lead to permanent brain damage or worse, death.

To treat this, an electric shock has to be applied to the chest of the patient through a process called defibrillation. In cases where a patient suffers cardiac arrest outside the premises of a hospital, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR can be done to deliver a limited amount of blood and oxygen to the brain until defibrillation can be performed.

The Advent of Automated External Defibrillators

Back then manual defibrillation to cure cardiac arrest requires complex steps. The operator must know how to read and interpret heart rhythms and he must also know how to detect irregularities that require defibrillation. Lastly, he must know to operate a traditional model of defibrillator available at the time.

With the digitalization of defibrillators in the mid-1980s, Automated External Defibrillators, known as AED, a person’s heart rhythm can be interpreted without an operator. This is an advancement that allowed AEDs to be placed in ambulances that are not staffed with advanced paramedics.

The only issue to be addressed after that is how to get a victim to an AED within 10 minutes.

AED for Public Use

After the introduction of AED, police officers are then taught on how to operate the machine when the ambulance is yet on its way. It is now acknowledged that AED can be used by the general public. Of course, trainings on how to use this equipment is still encouraged, but AED can also be used even without one as long as local and state regulations are observed.

How To Use AED

There is only minimal input that a person has to do with performing defibrillation using AED. You have to press “on” and a computer-generated voice will guide you throughout the process. Next, you will be instructed to attach a set of adhesive electrode pads on the victim’s bare chest, in some cases, you must lug in the pads’ connector to the AED. On its own, the machine will read the person’s heart rhythm and will tell you if a shock is necessary. After this, it will automatically charge itself and will prompt you to press a button that will deliver the shock.

This current is the same current that will be delivered by a physician had the patient been in an emergency department or in an ambulance. Then, you will be instructed to resume CPR.

Although cardiac arrests mostly happen to adults, some cases such as the presence of commoto codios on children. This is a syndrome in which a blow to the chest during a specific time during the heart rhythm cycle can cause ventricular fibrillation.

If a child is the size of a typical eight-year old, then AED procedure on adults will be followed. On children older than one year of age but is comparatively smaller than an eight-year old, a special set of cables that can reduce the amount of energy to be delivered should be used.

The advances in technology provides innovations such as AED. Through this equipment, survival rates of cardiac arrest have begun to rise significantly. Along with the public access to this automated defibrillator, more and more lives are saved.