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A person experiencing cardiac arrest is 2 to 3 times more likely to survive if someone uses an automated external defibrillator before EMS arrives. Check out this article to learn more about AEDs including their ease of operation, cost, training and maintenance.
It was not long ago that defibrillators were only found in an ambulance or in a hospital. Through the years, it was determined that in order for a victim of cardiac arrest to survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, four interdependent actions needed to take place. This was called the Cardiac Chain of Survival, or Chain of Survival.
The Chain of Survival is: Early Access and activation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Early CPR, Early Defibrillation, and Early Advanced Care.
According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), emergency medical services (EMS) personnel respond to approximately 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year. Yet, on average, less than 8% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive to hospital discharge. A person experiencing cardiac arrest is 2 to 3 times more likely to survive if a bystander applies an automated external defibrillator (AED) before EMS arrival. Statistics show that at the onset of a cardiac arrest, the survival rate decreases by 10 percent for each 1 minute that Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an AED is delayed.
Many states have now enacted laws requiring AEDs to be made available in public places such as: federal buildings, schools, businesses, medical offices, dental offices, and other public gathering areas. Since each state has different requirements, you should contact your state’s regulatory authority for information regarding AEDs, and if you’re required to provide the availability of one at your particular location or business. At the time this document was written, there were numerous states with bills pending, or with recent passing, in relation to defibrillators or AEDs.
The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000 required the establishment of federal guidelines for AED placement in federal facilities and provides immunity from civil suits to any person who uses an AED in an emergency. Many states have what is known as the Good Samaritan Act, which protects a person from providing first aid treatment from civil suits, as long as they provide care within their scope of training.
Today’s new AED devices have built-in computer chips to analyze the patient’s rhythm instantly and accurately, making it possible for nonprofessionals to administer a shock to the patient without risking accidental shock. It is automated in that the shock level is not user-selectable, therefore the user cannot override a ‘no shock’, when advised by the unit.
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is automated, and provides the operator with step by step direction through the complete process. Once the unit is turned on, the unit provides voice commands on what to do. Many units are even equipped with drawings illustrating the location in which the monitoring pads are to be applied. The AED is built with operator and patient safety in mind. Units are designed so that they will not charge for a shock, and not to provide an electrical shock, unless the AED determines through monitoring the patient’s heart rhythm that a shock is warranted. Safety measures assure that the AED unit will not provide a shock unless the operator of the AED depresses the shock button, and only after the unit has instructed them to do so.
There are numerous AED units on the market today, and there is not a lot of operational difference from one unit to the next. A person or company that is interested in purchasing an AED should take the time, prior to making the purchase, to familiarize themselves with the different models and manufacturers. AED units may have different illustration designs, shapes and colors depending on the manufacturer. It may be a good idea to purchase identical units, when purchasing more than one. This assures personnel are familiar with the AED, no matter which unit they may use.
June 26, 2012
Author: Jary D Winstead
Work Safety Services, LLC.
Note: AEDs were originally designed for adults, although some manufacturers now offer pediatric pads and will reduce the adult level shock to a level more suitable to children 1 to 8 years of age.
This article provides general information, and is not intended to be personalized legal or medical advice; please consult with your own advisor and review local/state/federal regulatory guidelines and requirements if you have any questions.