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AED quick facts

The Cardiac Chain of Survival

• Early recognition of the emergency and early access to EMS

• Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Early defibrillation

• Early advanced medical care

Early CPR can help a cardiac arrest victim, but an electrical shock (defibrillation) is needed to correct the problem. The sooner the shock is administered, the greater the victim’s chance of survival. Each minute defibrillation is delayed reduces the victim's chance of survival by about 10 percent.

AED quiz four:

Disease or injury can disrupt the heart’s electrical system.

Defibrillation is intended to disrupt the abnormal activity of the heart.

Ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) and ventricular tachycardia (V-tach) and are two of the most common treatable abnormal heart rhythms in initially present in cardiac arrest victims. Ventricular fibrillation is totally disorganized electrical activity. Ventricular tachycardia is a rapid contraction of the venticles; the ventricles can't pump blood.

Asystole is the condition when all electrical activity ceases; it can't be corrected by defibrillation.


Cardiac arrests can also occur in children, most commonly due to:

    airway and breathing problems

    traumatic injuries or accidents - including motor vehicle collision, drowning, electrocution, poisoning or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

    a hard blow to the chest

    congenital heart disease


An AED will not shock someone who does not need it or who has a pulse.

Japanese AED sign by Tomoka Igari: sign with the word AED and the same in Japanese

steps to use an AED

Turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts and/or visual prompts. (With some brands of AED, opening the AED turns it on automatically.)

Wipe the victim’s chest dry.

Attach the pads (use adult pads for adults, pediatric pads for children. If you do not have pediatric pads for a child you can use adult pads, but you can't use pediatric pads on a adult since they will not deliver enough energy. (Local protocals on this may differ and should be followed.)

adult pediatric AED pads: three sets of defibrillator pads

On an adult, place one pad on the victim's upper right chest and the other on the victim's lower left side.

These pads are on backwards:

AED quiz five:

Remember, when you are facing a victim, your right is opposite their right side.

On a child, make sure pads are not touching. If the pads risk touching each other on a child, place one in the middle of the chest and the other pad on the child's back (between the shoulder blades).

Plug the connector into the AED, if necessary.

Make sure no one, including you, is touching the victim. Look to see that you, the person who is helping you and every bystander is not touching the victim. Tell everyone the stand clear. (If anyone is touching the victim while the AED is analyzing it may affect analysis.)

Push the 'analyze' button if necessary. Let the AED analyze.

If a shock is advised, push the 'shock' button if necessary. Look again to be sure no one is touching the victim and tell everyone again to stand clear. (If anyone is touching the victim during defibrillation, they could be shocked.)

aed quiz eight:

After the shock, or if no shock is indicated, give 5 cycles of CPR (about 2 minutes) before analyzing the heart rhythm again.

Continue to follow the prompts of the AED.

(Follow the AED prompts when giving care, even if they are different from those above.) The machine might say to deliver three shocks, for example.

Always follow local protocals, manufacturers instructions and medical direction.


You don't have to remove body piercings/jewelry, just don't put the pads over metalic body piercings/jewelry.


Defibrillation does not transfer any significant electrical current to a fetus, so it is safe to use on a pregnant woman.


It is possible to receive a mild shock if an implantable ICD delivers a shock to the person during CPR. The risk to responders is minimal because the amount of electrical energy involved is low.


Precautions when using an AED:

... Do not use alcohol (it's flammable) to wipe the victim’s chest dry.

... Do not touch the victim while the AED is analyzing, it can affect analysis.

... Before shocking a victim with an AED, make sure that no one is touching or is in contact with the victim or any resuscitation equipment.

... Do not touch the victim while the device is defibrillating, someone can be shocked.

... Do not defibrillate someone when around flammable or combustible materials. (You would need to move a victim away from the pumps area at a gas station.)

... Do not use an AED in a moving vehicle, the anaylsis can be affected by movement.

... Do not use an AED on a victim wearing a nitroglycerin patch or other patch on the chest. With a gloved hand, remove any patches from the chest before attaching the device. Never place AED pads directly on top of medication patches. (If your hand is not gloved you can get a dose of the medication. Do not try to determine if the patch is a quit smoking patch or a medication patch, just peel it off.)

... Do not use a mobile phone or radio within 6 feet of an AED, signals can disrupt analysis. (Remember to check if a security guard might be talking on their radio.)

...Remove the victim from the water (swimming pool) before defibrillation.


see also:

cpr text 2011: cover of a textbook You can download the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillation for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers handbook to your laptop for free, or print the booklet at:

What the AED says as you use it

Bloodborne Pathogens quick facts

Oxygen administration quick facts

CPR quick facts

CPR Pro skills review questions

Common mistakes in Professional Rescuer CPR skills

Common mistakes in professional rescuer CPR skills - Lifeguard Training

How to pass a Red Cross written test

First Aid for Public Safety Personnel study guide

Simple secondary survey study sheet

Citizen CPR

 Updated Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 11:18:14 AM by Mary Donahue -
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