Automated External Defibrillator, or commonly referred to as an AED, is a lifesaving device that can mean the difference between life and death in a cardiac emergency. An AED is a portable, lightweight device that can quickly diagnose and recognize heart rhythm abnormalities. These devices are highly recommended by the American Red Cross as well as the American Medical Association.
The AED is basically a smaller version of the defibrillators used in hospitals. The device works by recognizing irratic hearth rhythms in patients who are in the midst of cardiac distress. The machine is capable of determining whether an electric shock is necessary to assist the heart into returning to a normal rhythm.
A common misconception regarding the AED is that the device is capable of “re-starting” a stopped heart. This is not the case. An AED only delivers an electrical current to a heart that is beating, but at an abnormal rate and rhythm. The machine will only charge to deliver a shock when the conditions of the patient call for one.
AED’s are recommended for schools, businesses, restaurants, shopping malls, and at home. Many lives can be saved by simply having access on site to this device. Having a defibrillator in the work place is an excellent option for anyone who may be living with a heart ailment that could potentially require immediate cardiac care. Those with congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, advanced heart disease, or atrial fibrillation would greatly benefit by having an AED accessible at work.
The American Red Cross, as well as approved healthcare institutions routinely offer training in the use of these defibrillators at the same time as regular CPR training. The simplicity of the AED makes its operation very easy. The steps to using the AED are as follows:
- Once a cardiac emergency has been determined, follow the normal CPR steps and unpack the device.
- The device is completely automatic, in that it will tell the user exactly what to do in order to operate it.
- Follow the instructions the AED gives the user. It will inform the user the proper placement of the defibrillator.
- Pay close attention to the safety precautions regarding the threat of shock to the rescuer.
- If and when the AED determines a shock should be given, specific instructions will follow from the device.
The relative ease of use gives the rescuer an added level of comfort in that the care they are providing is being assessed by the AED. An important fact regarding rescuers. Good Samaritan laws are now securely in place to protect rescuers from any type of liability in the case of mistakes in the attempt to help. This device also helps in this sense due to its ability to electronically record the administered treatment with the AED.
For anyone who may be at risk of experiencing a cardiac malfunction or heart ailment due to illness or condition, AEDs at work can more than double the chances of surviving such a medical emergency.