SCA happens when there is not enough blood pumped to the heart because the arteries may be blocked and it needs immediate resuscitation. The heart rate becomes chaotic and cannot be controlled – this condition is called ventricular fibrillation. The ventricles are the chambers that send the blood from the heart to the blood vessels, and they are severely affected during a sudden cardiac arrest . The blood transports essential substances to cells, visceral organs and other internal structures. If these structures do not get the blood they need, they start malfunctioning and shut down eventually.
This is where the AED comes in handy, and if used properly and within 5 or 10 minutes within the occurrence of the sudden cardiac arrest incident, it can save the life of the patient. The resuscitation must be carried out immediately; otherwise it may result in permanent brain damage or even worse, death. SCA occurs at patients with heart diseases but most frequently sudden cardiac arrest appears at people that had no previous heart problem history at all.
Using automated external defibrillators to counter sudden cardiac arrest
Today, there are two types of defibrillators available on the market: defibrillators designated for professional use and AEDs for public use that can be used by anyone in emergency cases. As a rule, the AEDs are designed to save the hearts of patients of any age, but there are also several devices especially designed for children under the age of 8.
Historically, only trained medical professionals were entitled to use defibrillators, a person with no medical training being unable to deduce the heart rhythms and consequently unable to perform the defibrillation when the time is right.
Nowadays, the automated external defibrillators may be used by anyone, as these devices contain computer chips that interpret the heart beats so as any ‘unauthorized’ person can save lives in critical situations by administrating a shock at the right time. In order to make it simple for people to use the AED, the Red Cross offers courses that initiate people in the basic usage of the defibrillators.
Remember, you never know when you’ll be put in the situation of using an AED, so it’s better to be prepared and at least acquainted with the usage of such devices. It is important for people working in an institution to benefit of such training because, as mentioned earlier, 50% of the sudden cardiac arrests happen at the working place.
In the past, according to Federal regulations transmitted by the Food and Drug Administration, AEDs were classified as Class III medical devices and were restricted for sale to or on the order of a physician. This means that the use of an AED was conditioned by a medical prescription.
But today there is prescription free AED available – AED manufacturers like Philips or Zoll that will be easy to use in any institution by any trained person. These AED may be bought by anyone. Recent surveys have shown that not only specialized personnel can use the AEDs. People who benefit of some basic training will also be able to properly use a defibrillator and save precious lives by diminishing the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest.
There are defibrillators that have voice instructions available, to make it easier to use when a SCA occurs. The AED will tell you whether the patient needs a shock or not. It guides you through the entire procedure, so even if you have little training, it will be relatively simple to use. And most importantly it will be very effective and helpful.
Still, little training is highly recommended so as to be able to recognize the first signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, to be able to perform the CPR and to switch on the AED. It is very important to be accustomed to the AED device so as to use it properly in an emergency. When you are put in the situation to act in helping a patient with sudden cardiac arrest, you will be under a lot of stress, so you must know exactly what you are dealing with and what is there to be done in order to restore the patient’s normal heart rate. Also there are certain things that must be avoided while doing the resuscitation with AED for example to keep off the hands off the patient.