If your organisation or workplace is considering purchasing its first Defibrillator it may need some basic knowledge. Just what is a Defibrillator and what exactly does it do? Defibrillator Services NI is pleased to answer these basic questions below. If you have other questions, ask us!
What does AED stand for?
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator
What is an AED?
An AED is a device used to administer an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart. A built-in computer measures the patient's heart rhythm, judges whether defibrillation is needed and then administers the shock. Audible and/or visual prompts guide the user through the process.
What is ventricular fibrillation?
Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is the abnormal rhythm that causes sudden cardiac arrest. The heart instantly goes from a normal heart rhythm to a chaotic rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. When the heart goes into VF, the pulse and blood pressure is instantly lost and the person loses consciousness in a few seconds. The only effective treatment is an electric shock across the chest and through the heart. A shock, if delivered in time, can convert the fatal rhythm of VF back to a normal heart rhythm.
What is the relation of CPR to AED?
CPR techniques cannot convert VF into a normal rhythm (only an electric shock can do this) but CPR can circulate a small trickle of oxygenated blood to vital organs and thus slow the dying process until an AED arrives. CPR buys time until the AED arrives to deliver a shock.
After successfully defibrillated the patient should the AED be kept on the patient?
Yes, even after a patient has been successfully defibrillated, he/she is at risk of developing ventricular fibrillation again. The AED will continually monitor the victim for the return of VF. If VF is suspected, the device will automatically begin to analyse patient after 1 minute of CPR is complete. The AED should be left on until emergency personnel assume responsibility for the patient. The defibrillation pads (electrodes) are disposable.