Automatic External Defibrillators
AED’s (Automatic External Defibrillators) are now being provided in many workplaces and public areas so that treatment for sudden cardiac arrest can begin immediately without the need to wait for the arrival of professional help, because every minute counts.
How do AED’s work?
AED’s are attached to an unconscious person who suffers a sudden collapse. The AED then interprets the patients’ cardiac rhythm and determines if it is appropriate to deliver a potentially life saving shock to the patient. If it is appropriate, the AED will then deliver one or more subsequent shocks in an attempt to revert the heart into a cardiac rhythm that is compatible with pumping blood to the brain.
Using an AED is simple, with easy to follow instructions. This is so that a person without any training at all can provide defibrillation without the fear of error, as the decision to deliver the shock is actually made by the AED (hence "Automatic"). If a shock is not indicated, it won’t be delivered.
The benefits of having publicly accessible AED’s is universally recognised as AED’s have been responsible for saving many lives through the quick life saving intervention that can be provided prior to the arrival of emergency care professionals.
Given that the application of an AED by an untrained person significantly increases the chance of survival, it stands to reason that someone with training and additional equipment will further increase the chance of a successful outcome. Considering the outcome when unsuccessful is death, any opportunity for improvement is definitely advantageous and well worthwhile.
The AED provides defibrillation in order to “fix” the pump, and chest compressions should also be performed to artificially act as the pump, however neither of these treatments effectively replenish the oxygen supply in the blood. In order to provide optimal resuscitation First Aiders are trained to perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. This means that in addition to the application of the AED and the performance of cardiac compressions, the AIRWAY needs to be managed to physically enable the flow of air into the lungs, and the process of moving the air into and out of the lungs must also be performed to artificially BREATHE for the patient.
What other equipment is needed so that this be achieved effectively?
The A+B kit (Airway + Breathing resuscitation Kit) developed by 1st 10' is designed to accompany every AED so that in the critical first ten minutes the most optimal resuscitation can be provided, prior to the arrival of emergency care professionals. This is especially relevant for all workplace and public access AED’s as the chances of a trained First Aider being at the scene is actually relatively high.
Providing the Airway + Breathing equipment necessary for optimal resuscitation results in the best possible opportunity for patient survival.
For more information about the 1st 10' A+B Kit or sudden cardiac arrest please follow the links in the menu at the top of the page.