"You! Call 911 and get me an AED"
Updated: May 24, 2019
Sound familiar? The classic line we were taught during CPR Class cerca 1990...
(insert eye roll during this awkward acting moment)
Luckily now a days, for the most part, we have cell phones in our pockets and can call 911 with the swipe of a finger. But what about getting an AED? There is unfortunately not a lot of advancement on the "get me an AED" portion of this dreaded statement. In fact, the response you would probably get if you told someone to grab you an AED would be either: "OK where?" or even "OK what's that?"
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDS) are devices that can check heart rhythms and deliver an electrical shock to restore the heart's function.
When the heart stops beating effectively during cardiac arrest, it is no longer able to pump blood throughout the body. Our brain and organs can be seriously damaged without oxygen and nutrients from blood and the person can die within minutes if not treated immediately. CPR can help maintain blood flow and ventilation in a victim of cardiac arrest for a short period but using an AED can actually restore the heart’s normal rhythm in the event of cardiac arrest.
Why does it matter?!
Over 70% of cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places, and many are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. The survival rate of cardiac arrest outside a hospital is very low. However, performing CPR and using an AED before Emergency Medical Services arrive can increase the chance of survival by up to 75%! Additionally, every minute that passes without the use of an AED and high quality CPR, survival rates DROP by up tp 10% - This means that waiting for the ambulance to arrive is not an option. It is our responsibility to our loved ones to train in the skills of CPR and the use of an AED.
Alberta Health Services AED LOCATION MAP:
This map outlines public access locations for AEDs organized by towns/cities in Alberta. The list however is not inclusive of all AED locations in the area. There are multiple AED's available not listed on this map. We challenge you this week to keep an eye out for the signs. Take notice of where the AEDs are located in your area, because you never know if or when AED location awareness could make the difference.
- Cochrane Emergency Training Services
CETS AED Tips:
- An AED will only shock if it detects a “shockable” cardiac rhythm, this means that if it detects a normal rhythm or no rhythm at all is will NOT shock.
- If AED says “Shock Not Advised” continue with CPR until unless patient is breathing.
- Child/Infant pads are placed on the chest and back of the patient. It is very important that the pads are not touching.
- You CAN use an AED on a pregnant patient.
- You CAN use an AED on an infants and children.
- An AED will analyze the patients heart rhythm every 2 minutes. Do not touch the patient while the heart rhythm is being analyzed.
- Once Pads are applied DO NOT remove them even if patient regains consciousness. You may need to re-use them if patient goes into cardiac arrest again.
- DO NOT place AED Pads over any medication patches (nitroglycerin, nicotine, etc). Remove all medication patches prior to applying pads.
- AED’s can detect is the adhesive pad is not sticking and will instruct you to re-apply pads.
- AED’s are safe to use on individuals laying on snow, or ice.
- Remember to remove hair or medical patches before applying pads.
- Avoid placing and AED pad directly over an implanted pacemaker.
- Adult pads are safe to use on children/infants if no Child Pads are available; using the front and back sandwich technique.
- Do not use Child Pads on an adult
To learn more, take a course! First Aid & CPR course dates available on CETS website for online registration.
Cardiac Arrest: Most sudden cardiac deaths are caused by abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmia which are erratic, disorganized firing of impulses from the heart's lower chambers. Blood flow is no longer able to reach the brain and vital organs therefore the person is rendered unconscious and will not be breathing.