How to Use an AED with Adults

Adult AED Use

Use DRABC to remember the primary assessment sequence.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a safe, reliable, computerised device that can analyse heart rhythms and enable a non-medically qualified rescuer to safely deliver a shock. The use of an AED, if used promply can drastically increase the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.

Defibrillation Guidelines

Modern AEDs will follow the same sequence during a rescue. There are some considerations:

  • Do not place pads over jewellery
  • Do not remove pads if placed wrong way round
  • Remove visible medication patches
  • Do not use in highly flammable atmosphere
  • Dry chest of casualty if wet
  • Shave excessive chest hair
  • Can be used on casualty with pacemaker
  • Minimise Interruptions

    in CPR

  • AED Analyses

    heart rhythm

  • AED Delivers Shock

    every 2 minutes if needed

Skill Performance

If you have a helper ask them to continue CPR while you get the AED ready. If they are untrained ask them to give chest compressions only:

  • 1Switch on the AED immediately and follow the voice prompts.
  • 2Attach the pads to the bare chest of the casualty.
  • 3You may need to dry or shave the chest of casualty to ensure pads stick correctly.
  • 4Peel backing from each pad and place in position indicated on the pads.
  • 5Listen to the voice prompts and stop CPR when indicated to do so.
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Common Barriers to Action

"Imperfect care given is better than perfect care withheld."

Nervousness or anxiousness

A perfectly normal reaction when dealing with medical emergencies. However you must trust your training. When you follow the priorities of care as outlined during your course you are giving the casualty the best possible chance of survival.

Guilt if there is not a positive outcome

Some may hesitate when thinking about how they may feel if the casualty does not recover after delivering first aid. There is no guarantee that a casualty will live or reciver but be confident that what you offer has the potential to make a difference.

Fear of imperfect performance

People hesitate thinking they can not properly help an injured or ill casualty. It is seldom true that the smallest of errors will hurt or kill a casualty. If you focus on perfection you´ll have the tendancy to do nothing at all.

Fear of making a casualty worse

The most serious medical emergency is when a casualty is not responsive and not breathing. Some people fear they may make them worse, however it is not possible to make someone worse who is already in the worst state of health.

Fear of infection

Some people fear being infected by the person they are assisting. Research has shown that the chance of this happening by performing CPR is very low and in any case you may use barriers to minimise the risk of disease transmission.

Responsibility concerns

People are afraid of helping because of the fear of being sued. In most regions of the world there are accepted legal doctrines and laws that have been put in place to encourage people to come to the aid of others.

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