AED: Automated external defibrillator

AED: Automated external defibrillator

Every year, many people die from Cardiac Arrest or Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), making it a leading cause of death in the country. It happens when the heart suddenly beats in an irregular rhythm, typically ventricular fibrillation or pulse less ventricular tachycardia. The heart delivers oxygen throughout the body with regular (Healthy and strong) beats. As a result, the heart becomes ineffective to supply oxygen to the brain. Lack of O2 created severe brain damage, which can cause severe consequences and death in few patients. That’s when the defibrillator comes into the picture. AED strikes an electric shock to the heart, and it’s an essential part of trying to keep the life of a person undergoing cardiac arrest.

What is AED or automated external defibrillator?

The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized medical device. It’s a battery-powered gadget with adhesive defibrillator pads connected to the chest allowing electrical current to pass through to the heart. A standard, the rational or organized rhythm of the shock wave, is necessary for the muscle to contract and boost the blood to the entire body. 

Electric shock can stop ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia to restore regular heartbeat and blood supply to the body. 

Types of Defibrillators

These are common types of defibrillators: AEDs, ICDs, and WCDs. Let us go through them briefly:

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs):

AEDs are compact devices that produce shock in the event of an SCA, i.e. sudden cardiac arrest. They are neither worn nor implanted; instead, they’ve stored away for emergencies. When SCA occurs, an AED sends a shock to the heart to restore normal rhythm. The other two defibrillators are provided by medical professionals and are subjected to medical supervision. But, in urgency, you’ll be dealing with AEDs.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs):

ICDs are embedded in the chest and devised to prevent an irregular heartbeat from triggering sudden cardiac arrest. These devices are implanted in sufferers who previously gone through cardiac arrest and patients with arrhythmia that disrupt natural blood circulation.

Wearable cardioverter defibrillators (WCDs):

WCDs are almost the same as ICDs, but they’re used externally to stop cardiac arrest in situations of short-term risks, such as when a patient is healing from a heart attack or transplant.

Is a defibrillator useful for all types of cardiac arrest?

The answer is, No. Other irregular heartbeats like a prolonged heart rate or no pulse can’t be treated with an AED. When AED’s electrodes or sticking pads on a victim’s chest, the device decides whether the heart needs to give shock or not. Then the AED will direct the rescuer to the next steps. 

Is CPR no longer needed?

It is wrong. A defibrillator might restore a regular pulse in a few cases. Chest compressions in CPR are used to keep blood flowing into the heart and the body. CPR wills double the probabilities of survival when appropriately used when a person collapses. Even when cardiologists approve CPR that prolongs a patient’s neurological strength in VF for as long as ten minutes using chest compressions, CPR alone cannot restore beating defibrillation is required for recovery.

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