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In the past, when a heart related life-threatening situation arose, EMS and the nearest hospital were the only life saving options. If the heart stopped beating, and emergency services were more then a few minutes away, death or brain loss was more then likely, if not inevitable.
Today, a device knows as a defibrillator or AED – Automated External Defibrillator – can save lives. Defibrillation is an electrical shock delivered to the heart. The AED is a device capable of automatically detecting a heart rhythm that requires a shock. AED will charge itself and prompt a user to deliver a shock to the victim in an attempt to restore a heart beat.
Now popular in many places such as schools, malls, office buildings and ambulances, AEDs like the Physio Control LIFEPAK 9/9P Medtronic Defibrillator, if used properly can be a lifesaver. Easy to use, with little to no training, anyone can use AED’s to save a life.
b>How to use a defibrillator:
- Step 1 – Turn on the defibrillator. Some may turn on when the lid is opened, while others have an easy to identify green button.
- Step 2 – Confirm cardiac arrest by checking to see if the victim is unable to respond and there is no breathing or pulse.
- Step 3 – Remove shirt or blouse and all jewelry and studs.
- Step 4 – Attach the AED to defibrillator pads and cables according to the diagram on the machine. Place one on the upper right side of the chest, the other on the lower left.
- Step 5 – Stop CPR. The defibrillator will analyze the patient’s heart beat and assess the need for a shock. Do not touch the victim during this time.
- Step 6 – Make sure everyone ‘stands clear’ of the victim.
- Step 7 – If the AED determines a shock is needed, the machine will tell you audibly to deliver a shock by pressing the orange button. The machine will determine and instruct you if additional shocks are needed.
- Step 8 – Check the victim’s breathing and pulse. If the heart is beating again, but the person is not breathing, resume CPR. If there is no pulse, repeat the defibrillation process.
Although training is not required to use a Medtronic Defibrillator or any AED, enrolling in a training course can ensure that in an emergency you are prepared and comfortable to use the machine. The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross offers both CPR and AED training. To locate a training center near you visit your local American Red Cross or American Heart Association.