AEDs / Defibrillators – What you need to know

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Buying a Defibrillator and identifying a Cardiac Arrest

Defibrillators are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to save a life in an emergency situation. Across Ireland they are recommended for busy settings such as workplaces, schools, community centres and sports facilities.  It’s a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, medical device that can analyse the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. In this article we will look at everything you need to know about AEDs and will help equip you to know how to act in an emergency.

What is an AED / Defibrillator?

An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator. There are various types of AEDs yet they are typically a portable, simple to use, computerised device. When someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, the device is used to deliver a shock to the heart to allow it to resume its normal rhythm.

What is a Cardiac Arrest and what are the Symptoms?

A cardiac arrest is a sudden loss of heart function which causes a person to collapse. When this happens the person will not respond and will not be breathing normally (either gasping or not breathing at all). This is caused because something has gone wrong with the heart’s electrical system, and without immediate CPR and defibrillation the person will not survive.

Sudden cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack, when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

Signs of sudden cardiac arrest are immediate and drastic and include:

  • Sudden collapse
  • No pulse
  • No breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Sometimes other signs and symptoms occur before sudden cardiac arrest. These might include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)

But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.

If not treated immediately, sudden cardiac arrest can lead to death. Survival is possible with fast, appropriate medical care using an AED.

Save a Life by Using an AED in an Emergency

An AED checks the heart’s rhythm and it automatically recognises if there is a life threatening rhythm. Once detected the AED delivers a shock to stun the heart returning it to its normal rhythm.

After checking the scene and ensuring that the person needs help, you should ask a bystander to call 999 /112 for help, then:

  • As soon as an AED is available, turn it on and follow the voice prompts from the device
  • Remove clothing covering chest and attach pads correctly
  • Place one pad on the upper right side of the chest, Place the other pad on the lower left side of the chest, a few inches below the left armpit
  • Prepare to let the AED analyse the heart’s rhythm
  • Deliver a shock, if the AED determines one is needed
  • Make sure no one is touching the person
  • After the AED delivers the shock, or if no shock is advised, immediately start CPR, beginning with compressions

Purchasing and setting up an AED

There are a number of things to keep in mind before buying an AED for your workplace, school, sports club or community. You should purchase this unit from a reputable medical supplies company. You should aim to buy from an Irish company that will offer you support and warranty. You should also consider purchasing a cabinet to keep it safe and secure. Choose a defibrillator that can be maintained and services. Batteries and pads will need to be replaced periodically. We also advise that you plan to provide training to your staff or organisation. There are many great Irish training companies that provide first aid training and CPR courses. This is often a legal requirement for many organisations. 

We stock Defibrillators

Market leading defibrillators at the lowest prices. Help protect your local community with reliable life saving devices. AED performs self tests to ensure it works when you need it. Voice prompts guide you through the process. Defibrillators and AEDs are in stock now.

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