For those who don’t know what an automated external defibrillator (AED) is, you may have seen them being used in many TV shows and movies, like Grey’s Anatomy or Doctor Strange. An AED is a portable electronic device that is used in life-threatening situations where a patient has gone into cardiac arrest. The AED delivers an electronic shock or defibrillation, which helps restore a healthy heartbeat.
However, the electrical shock that is seen in TV shows or movies when an AED is used is exaggerated and a total myth. And unfortunately, that’s not the only myth about AEDs.
AED Myths and Facts
Myth #1: You Can Easily Hurt Someone by Using An AED
This myth is false; AEDs are extremely unlikely to harm the patient or the person using the AED during the process. AEDs are designed to reduce or minimize fortuitous electrode contact and improper pad placement on a patient’s chest. These devices may also come with audio and/or visual instructions on how to use an AED.
Myth #2: AEDs Can Accidentally Shock a Patient
Again, false. An AED analyzes and measures the heartbeat of the patient to determine whether they need a shock to restart their heart. The electrodes that attach to the patient’s chest gather information and relay it to the computer inside the AED, which determines if a shock is necessary.
Myth #3: Only A Trained Professional Can Use An AED
This myth is not only false but dangerous, as well. Anyone can be trained to use an AED—not just medical professionals. Since AEDs provide auditory and sometimes visual instructions on how to use them, they are readily usable to bystanders.
Most states have a law called the “Good Samaritan Law,” which protects bystanders who stop to help a fallen victim. For legal protection, business owners must create an AED program that follows the federal and states statutes. These programs include CPR and AED training.
Myth #4: Children Should Not Have an AED Used on Them
AEDs can be used on children if they are modified to be safe. It’s recommended for children under 55 pounds to use specialized pads, which reduce the amount of charged electricity the AED releases. There are specialized kits made specifically for children under the age of 8 or under 55 pounds. It’s recommended they are put in daycares, schools, and businesses where children may be present.
Myth #5: Cardiac Arrest and A Heart Attack Are the Same Things
A heart attack and cardiac arrest are two very different things. For example, heart attacks are considered more of a “plumbing” problem, whereas cardiac arrest is considered more of an “electrical” problem. A heart attack can lead to sudden cardiac arrest but not vice versa.
To learn more, check out our blog on the specific differences between cardiac arrest and a heart attack.
Now that you know the facts about AEDs, consider taking a training course and adding this critical, life-saving technology to your facility. Here at Specialized Health and Safety, we offer AED training, CPR training, basic first aid training, and more. For more information on AED equipment or AED training, visit our website.