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Key To Using An Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Please purchase the course before starting the lesson.

If you look around the public places you visit, you are likely to find an AED. An AED is both sophisticated and easy to use, providing lifesaving power in a user-friendly device. This makes the devise useful for people who have never operated one and for anyone in stressful scenarios. However, proper use of an AED is very important.

Attach the pads to the upper right side and lower left side of the patient’s chest (Figure 7). Once pads are attached correctly, the device will read the patient’s heart rhythm. If the pads are not attached appropriately, the device will indicate this with prompts. Once the rhythm is analyzed, the device will direct you to “shock” the patient if a shock is indicated. Remember, a “shock” depolarizes all heart muscle cells at once, attempting to organize its electrical activity. In other words, the shock is intended to reset the heart’s abnormal electrical activity into a normal rhythm.

Applying AED
Fig. 7

CRITERIA TO APPLY AED

  • No response after shaking and shouting
  • No breathing or ineffective breathing
  • No carotid artery pulse detected

BASIC AED OPERATION

  • Power up AED by opening the lid or pressing “POWER”
  • Choose adult or pediatric pads
  • Attach the pads to bare chest (not over medication patches) and make sure cables are connected. (Dry chest if necessary)
  • Place one pad on upper right side and the other on the chest a few inches below left arm
  • Clear area to allow AED to read rhythm (may take up to 15 seconds)
  • If NO rhythm in 15 seconds, restart CPR
  • If the AED indicates a shock is needed, ensure patient is clear (both visually and by shouting “CLEAR!”)
  • Press the “SHOCK” button
  • Immediately resume CPR
  • After 2 minutes of CPR, analyze the rhythm with the AED
  • Continue to follow AED prompts
  • If the AED is not working properly, continue giving CPR. Do NOT waste excessive time troubleshooting the AED. CPR always comes FIRST–AEDs are supplemental.
  • Do NOT use the AED in water.
  • AED is NOT contraindicated in patients with implanted defibrillator/pacemaker; however, do not place pad directly over the device.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Certification Course

Principles of Early Defibrillation

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