Frequently Asked Questions - Defibrillators
What Does AED Stand For?
AED Stands for Automatic External Defibrillator. An AED is the same as a Defibrillator, or ‘Defib’.
What Does an AED Do?
Defibrillation is the process of attempting to restore the heart’s normal rhythm and is crucial in the first five minutes following a Sudden Cardiac Arrest to maximise the person’s chance of survival. An AED analyses the heart rhythm and recognise an abnormal rhythm, or ‘ventricular fibrillation’. It will then decide whether a shock is required to be delivered or not.
How Does a Defibrillator Work?
A Defibrillator delivers a set amount of electrical shock to the heart after it analyses the heart rhythm. It determines whether a shock is required to the heart via adhesive electrode pads attached to the person’s chest. The shock then interrupts the chaotic rhythm of the heart and gives the heart the chance to return to its normal pumping rhythm.
How to Use a Defibrillator?
Anyone can use a Defibrillator as they are very easy to operate. It is just a matter of opening up the Defibrillator and it will instantly give you voice prompts to follow. It doesn’t skip ahead and will keep repeating the instruction until each step has been completed, making it reassuring guide in what is a stressful situation. In an ideal situation, CPR should be done while someone else is retrieving the Defibrillator. If CPR is done as soon as possible, there is a better chance of keeping the heart in ‘fibrillation’ or a ‘shockable rhythm’
Are They Dangerous? Can They Shock Someone Accidentally?
If there is normal heart rhythm, an AED will not allow a shock to be delivered. For example, if a person thinks the casualty is not breathing but the heart is beating, an AED will assess whether there is a heart rhythm and advise by voice command that a shock is not required. The AED is intelligent and it is impossible for it to deliver a shock when not needed.
Do You Need Training to Use a Defibrillator
No, anyone can and should use a Defibrillator. The voice prompts are designed for beginners and will instruct you on exactly what to do, from reminding you to call 000 to counting out the CPR rhythm. Of course training beforehand increases your confidence and preparedness in using a Defibrillator. It helps people understand where the AED fits in to the DRSABCD process and the Chain Of Survival.
Can Defibrillators Be Used On Children?
Yes, Depending on the device you have bought. You can use standard AED pads are suitable on children older than 8 years. For children under 8, special infant/child pads or ‘keys’ are available that adjust the current delivered by the Defibrillator to be suitable for a child.
Can Defibrillators Be Used on Pregnant Women?
Yes, there are no contra-indications to using an AED during pregnancy. Treat a pregnant woman the same as another type of casualty when they are not responding or breathing.
A Summary of Answers to Your AED Questions:
AEDs are reliable, easy to use, simple to maintain, portable, durable and cost effective.
AEDs can and should be used by anyone
An AED will not shock unless it can detect the heart is not beating correctly and a shock is required
First Aid training will help people to become more confident to use an AED in a real life situation