The AED is intended solely for use on victims in cardiac arrest. It is not a monitor! So, the sole criteria for using it, is: the victim needs, or is already receiving, chest compressions/CPR.
Using the AED
1. Turn on the AED. It is now “in charge” – do not try and “second guess” it!
2. Check correct pad positions (shown on pads).
3. Peel-off pads/electrodes, attach to victim’s bare chest as shown
4. Ensure pads are connected to AED.
5. Follow instructions from AED.
6. If victim shows definite signs of life, turn off AED. Keep it connected – the victim may well re-arrest. In which case turn it on, and follow instructions.
Important Points to Consider
1. Has an ambulance been called? It won’t come, unless someone has dialled 999.
2. It may be difficult to hear the voice prompts from the AED, especially in a crowded environment. The team should listen to the AED (it’s in charge!), and to the person operating the AED.
3. The AED cannot analyse if it detects movement of the victim. “Do not touch patient” means exactly that. Likewise “Stand clear!”. No-one should be in contact with the victim as the shock is delivered. Check “Top, side, bottom, I’m clear” before pushing shock button.
4. Try and minimise interruptions to CPR. Plan actions in advance: expose chest when the 2 rescue breaths are being given, in the 30:2 sequence. Likewise: it may be a good idea to check positioning of pad, peel pad from backing strip, stop compressions briefly attach pad firmly, recommence compressions. Repeat with other pad. This may avoid a long, single, pause while both pads are placed. Talk to each other, so that everyone knows what is going to happen, and when.
5. The AED will constantly “nag” you, while you attach the pads. Don’t get flustered!
6. Should you accidentally place the pads “the wrong way round”. The chest pad on the side & vice-versa – leave them. It won’t stop the machine working properly.
7. If the victim is exceptionally hairy-chested, it’s probably a good idea to put each pad on opposite sides of the chest wall, in line with the armpit. ie: both in the side position, on each side of the body. This is quicker & easier than trying to shave patches on the chest, while CPR continues.
8. Remain calm, and let the AED operator take charge. Too many voices are not good.
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