There are many Automated External Defibrillators available for organisations to purchase – the question is does every organisation need one? The answer to that is, in most cases, by law – no. It is suggested that larger organisations or areas visited by many people (such as football grounds, shopping centres, supermarkets and airports) should have them available and train staff to use them, and in the next paragraph we will explain why.
The AED is a Life Saving device which provides an electric shock to the heart. The automatic type (which is available to buy) will only do this if it detects ‘ventricular fibrillation’ in the heart, when applied to the casualty. This state occurs when a casualty collapses from cardiac arrest and stops breathing; the heart’s pumping action stops, but there is still a large amount of electrical activity (occurs within around 50% of Cardiac arrests). This activity produces an irregular heart rhythm (fibrillation) and does not pump blood around the body. CPR should be started immediately someone stops breathing, and this helps to keep the heart oxygenated; however CPR cannot restart the heart’s pumping action. Only a Defibrillator can do that.
For every minute that goes by whilst the heart fibrillates, the muscle tissue dies by at least 7% – more if CPR is not being done, which means there is an outer limit for survival of around 12 minutes.
The AED works best if applied and used within the first 3 minutes, which is why if there is one near by when cardiac arrest occurs, the casualty will benefit. Given that the average ambulance arrival time in Cheshire is about 8 minutes, it’s not hard to see why CPR alone is often unsuccessful (however should always be tried and continued whilst the AED is applied). The casualty will also more than likely need drugs and hospital treatment to recover.
The AED is a simple device to use – it cannot be used in error, because it will only shock an irregular heart rhythm – and staff can be trained on a 4 hour course. The course also includes detailed practise of CPR which is a vital link in the casualty’s ‘Chain of Survival’, along with legal duties to be carried out after the incident.
Our AED course complies with UK Resuscitation Council guidelines.
AED COMPETENT USER COURSE SYLLABUS
- Basic Anatomy of the Respiratory and Circulatory Systems
- Basic Life Support (recovery position and CPR)
- Heart rhythms
- Use of the AED
- Safety points and UK Resuscitation Council Guidelines
- Reporting Procedures