What Is an AED? How Do You Use It?

What does AED stand for? 

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator, it is a portable life-saving device used to measure and aid in correcting the rhythm of a patient’s heart rate.

How does an AED work?

The AED works by being able to read and assess the patient’s heart rhythm through pads that are placed on the patient’s chest. The AED will then assess the patient’s heartbeat and if it has stopped and only if it is necessary, it will advise the user to push a button that will administer a shock to try and get the heart beating properly again.

While all AED’s are designed for the same primary function, not all AED units are the same. For example, the Zoll AED unit that Operation Heat Heal donates provides the user with real-time CPR feedback on the rate and depth of CPR chest compressions being administered to the patient. This makes the AED very user-friendly so that any motivated bystander may operate in the event of a cardiovascular emergency.

How do you use an AED?

Zoll AED Unit in display case

The first step is to ensure emergency services have been called, or someone has been assigned to call them and is doing so. Using an AED and CPR does not replace the need for emergency services, and they should be called immediately and will be able to provide over the phone assistance if needed as well.

How To Operate An AED:

  • Turn on the AED.
  • Remove clothing from the chest, cutting the material if it is necessary.
  • Ensure the chest is bare, and dry, if the patient is wet, dry the chest area.
  • Attach the AED pads & plug in the connector (if necessary).
  • Follow the images & instructions included in the AED for pad placement on the chest.
  • Ensure no one, yourself included, is touching the patient. Ask everyone to “stand clear”.
  • Push the analyze button.
  • If the AED instructs you to, then push the shock button. Again ensure everyone is standing clear.
  • Begin CPR after the shock. Continue to follow the AED’s instructions.

If possible, stay with the patient until emergency services arrive and continue CPR if necessary.

Where are AED units located?

As of yet, there aren’t any specific locations for AED units specifically. Many public locations such as schools, malls, and large employment offices usually have at least one AED accessible, many cases one on every floor.

How Can You Get An AED

The good news AED units ARE easily accessible, they just need willing individuals to seek out having them at their locations. If you are looking to purchase an AED you can get them online or you can contact an AED distributor in your area like Aim For Life.

2 thoughts on “What Is an AED? How Do You Use It?”

    1. Hello!
      Thank you for your comment. The AED will have clear easy to read instructions included, outlining pad placement, usually with images on the back of the pads. However, this was an excellent question and I will update the document with more details, and images.

      Thank you and please reach out if you have any more questions,

      Operation Heart Heal

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