The Automated External Defibrillator is proven to save thousands from sudden cardiac arrest – when the heart experiences an electrical malfunction that causes it to stop beating that results in immediate loss of consciousness. AEDs are designed so rescuers can use it fast without too much training with its smart and simple user interface.
But one crucial thing that untrained individuals (bystanders) should know before using an AED is the things that need to be avoided before using the device. Because you do not want to cause the victim greater danger, but instead save his/her life.
WHAT YOU NEED TO AVOID BEFORE GIVING A SHOCK:
Wet chest or direct contact with water
It is important that the patient’s chest is thoroughly dry – meaning no sweat nor any presence of liquid matter – before attaching the AED electrode pads to the chest.
You should also remove the patient from wet environments such as a swimming pool or even puddles and move the patient in a dry place before e proceeding. This is to make sure that the electric shock will travel to the chest and not to the water which can also electrocute other people who are touching the water since it conducts electricity.
Avoid applying AED electrode pads on a patient’s chest with a lot of hair as this may hinder the AED pads to detect if the heart needs to be shocked or not. The best thing to do is shave the hair before applying the pads.
Avoid applying AED pads over a medication patch because these may decrease the energy of the shock that would cause a failed defibrillation. If a medication patch is placed right where the pads are placed, remove it immediately and wipe the skin dry before attaching the pads.
You will know if a pacemaker is installed in a person’s chest when there is a visual lump that is hard when touched. Applying the AED pad under the pacemaker or just around it – closest to the AED pad’s original position – will do just fine.
Remove objects such as jewelry, piercing, including bras most especially if it has underwires. This is because, like water, metal conducts electricity and can interrupt successful defibrillation or even cause burns on the patient’s skin.
Remove clothing including bras immediately because not only does clothing interfere with the proper and quick placement of AED electrode pads, it also can catch fire and may cause burn injury to the patient. This is why paramedics and some public AEDs include a special cutting tool to quickly tear off a garment, save time, and avoid possible lacerations.
If you are a Philips AED user with more questions in mind or someone who want to have an AED as part of your first aid emergency plan, you may contact our 24/7 support team at [email protected] for inquiries and live or virtual demonstration request.