Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen without warning. If you witnessed someone having an SCA, would you know what to do?
Here is a Step-by-Step Guide:-
Before Using the AED
- Diagnose Cardiac Arrest.
Use the ABC Method
Airway: Open the airway by tilting the head back and lift up the chin
Breathing: Detect whether the person is breathing by leaning in close to listen and seeing if the chest rises or not.
Circulation: Feel for a Pulse
- Attempt to Make The Person regain consciousness
Try to wake the person up to ensure they are having a medical emergency and are not just asleep.
- Phone for an Ambulance – Call Triple Zero (000) in Australia
You can’t waste time. If there’s someone else with you, get them to phone. Be clear about the emergency nature of the problem, your exact location and that you have an AED and are about to use it.
- Start CPR
Start CPR while the other person gets the AED. If you are alone, start CPR and then get the AED afterwards.
After Using the AED
- Move the Person to a Dry Area and Make sure they are Dry.
Water conducts electricity so to avoid any additional problems, move the person to a dry area and dry the water or sweat off them.
- Turn on the AED
Once you have turned on the AED, it will give you instructions as to how to handle the situation. Ensure the cables are plugged into the AED machine and the pads are connected to the other end of the cables.
- Prepare the Chest Area
Remove clothing from the chest area and also any metal jewelry. Metal conducts electricity so must be removed.
If the chest is hairy, you will have to shave the bits where you apply the pads. Most AEDs come with a razor for that purpose.
- Apply the Pads
The pads for the AEDs are also the electrodes. The pads are generally adhesive. One should be placed on the upper right side of the body below the collarbone on the bare chest and the other below the breast on the left hand side, slightly to the side, below the heart.
Make sure there is no fabric or other object between the skin and the pads as this is likely to make the AED malfunction.
If the patient has any implanted devices, the pads should be at least one inch from them.
If the pads are not connected properly, the AED is likely to inform you.
- Wait for the AED to Diagnose the Patient
Make sure everyone moves back and press the ANALYSE button on the AED. The AED will now analyse the patient’s heart rhythm.
The AED will tell you if a shock is required. If not keep doing CRP until the emergency services arrive.
- Shock the Patient if Necessary
If the AED concludes that a shock is required, press the SHOCK button on the AED. The AED will deliver an electric shock to help restart the heart.
One shock will be delivered at a time. Expect the patient to move with the force of the shock.
- Continue CPR
After the shock has been delivered, you need to continue CPR for an additional 2 minutes and then let the AED check for a heart rhythm. Continue with this until the emergency services arrive.
You can stop this if the victim regains consciousness or starts breathing again.
During the process, be clear to follow the instructions given by the AED.