The first step in administering an AED is to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm, which can either be a shockable or unshockable rhythm. Then, it is necessary to check the patient’s pulse, monitor their airway, and provide rescue breathing, if required. The four steps of AED administration differ according to the brand and model of the AED. The process is critical for the survival of the patient, so it’s imperative to follow the instructions carefully.
An AED works by applying an electrical shock to the victim’s heart. Until the heart regains normal electrical impulses from the brain, it will continue to twitch or flutter uncontrollably. The shock produced by an AED restores normal heart rhythm and pace, allowing the nerve impulses to return to normal. It also guides the user through the process until help arrives.
The next step in administering an AED is to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm. Some AED models require the rescuer to press the ANALYZE button while others automatically begin after delivering a shock. If the heartbeat continues to show signs of VF, the AED will instruct the rescuer to administer another shock. Repeat this process for the second and third shocks. The objective of the cluster of three shocks is to identify a shockable rhythm as soon as possible.
When using an AED, the operator should identify 4 special situations: victims under the age of eight years, victims under the weight of 25 kg, and those with transdermal medication patches, pacemakers, or ICDs. Lastly, metal surfaces are not included in the special situations, as they do not pose a shock hazard. When using an AED, the operator should also identify the special conditions of the victim before using it.
Once an AED has been installed, the rescuer should follow the cleaning instructions. The procedure includes removing all PPE (personal protective equipment) worn by the rescuer, performing hand hygiene, and documenting the process in the patient’s chart. The AED should also be left attached to the victim, even if they are not breathing. An AED should also prompt the rescuer to perform additional tests or shock the patient.
Once the victim has a heart rhythm, an AED should be attached to the victim’s chest. The electrodes should be placed on the upper-right sternal border, lateral to the left nipple, and several inches below the axilla. Typically, AEDs come with pre-connected electrode pads, but some may require connecting the cable to the electrodes. In order to apply the electrode pads correctly, the victim must be bare chest-side.
The process of using an AED is simple enough, but the person administering it should understand how to do it correctly to save a life. The machine has an on/off button and a computer-generated voice that prompts the user to place the electrode pads on the victim’s chest and plug them into the defibrillator. When the victim’s heart rate drops below a certain threshold, the AED will begin delivering a shock.