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What You Need to Know About AEDs and CPR

What You Need to Know About AEDs and CPR

We want to help get you prepared for an emergency, so we’re going to look at what you need to know about AEDs and CPR. CPR, short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or AED, also known as an automated external defibrillator are two widely known terms when it comes to cardiac arrests and saving someone’s life. In this fast-paced world we’re living in, it’s easy to forget about our own health and focus more on other not-so-relevant things. 

When it comes to our health, it’s safe to say that we can’t always tell when our bodies will need help. This is why authorities are also concentrating on getting the younger population more aware by introducing CPR training in the educational system. A cardiac arrest or a heart attack are two health conditions that creep up on us and leave us in dire need of help. In such unfortunate events, CPR and AEDs can be literal lifesavers. 

But do we know what makes the two so important? Do we know when to turn to CPR and when to look for AEDs close by? Can all of us use an AED as a first-aid strategy? We’ll discuss the answers in more detail.

Things to Know About CPR

Let’s begin to dig deeper into what you need to know about AEDs and CPR, but let’s focus on CPR. It’s only possible to cover some aspects of CPR in one article since there’s a vast pool of information to be explained and defined. Therefore, this article can shortlist the most important aspects of CPR on an as-per-need basis. So, without any further ado, let’s have a closer look at what makes cardiopulmonary resuscitation an integral part of first-aid strategies.

What Is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, widely recognized as CPR, is a first-aid technique everyone may learn to perform and is helpful in case of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Besides SCA, one can also perform CPR in other medical emergencies where the victim is unresponsive. The main goal of CPR is to keep the blood flow in the victim uninterrupted and avoid cardiac and cranial damage, at least until medical personnel arrives. 

What Does CPR Do?

As we mentioned above, CPR keeps the blood flowing through the body to reach the brain and the heart. Other than that, CPR deals with two major health aspects: ensuring an uninterrupted flow of oxygen to and from the lungs and ensuring oxygenated blood is coursing through the whole body.

Anyone Can Do CPR

Even though many of us civilians don’t feel competent to do CPR on an SCA victim, the reality is that CPR is an easy-to-learn, life-saving technique that medical professionals urge people to learn. Because close to a quarter million people in the U.S. fall victim to cardiac arrests in out-of-hospital conditions, it’s no wonder the American Heart Association (AHA) went into massive campaigning to spread awareness of the importance of CPR.

Plus, with so many online CPR courses available, it would really be a shame to pass on the opportunity to learn CPR — you never know when you might need it!

Giving CPR Is No Joke

Doing CPR is not to be miscalculated! In other words, you can’t just do 5-6 chest compressions and hope the victim starts breathing again. In fact, high-performance CPR entails from 100 to 120 compressions per minute! However, if you find yourself in a CPR emergency and you’re the one doing the compressions, try connecting the compressions to a familiar beat. 

Finding a tune within the 100-120 bpm range is a good rhythm base to keep the blood flowing and help guide you through the compressions. It’s human to panic in emergencies, and this may be useful to maintain your focus. 

Hands-Only CPR Is, in Fact, Effective

Otherwise known as compression-only CPR, hands-only CPR is performed without delivering rescue breaths. The American Heart Association came forth with explanations about the efficacy of hands-only CPR. They state that the technique can be as effective as CPR with rescue breaths when performed within the first three minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest in an adult victim in an out-of-hospital scenario.

How to Do CPR the Right Way

For one, CPR can save an unconscious person’s life when sticking to a certain resuscitation rhythm and done in the following order:

  1. If the person seems to be unresponsive, make sure they really are. Check their breathing, and raise your voice while explaining what has happened.
  2. Call an emergency number immediately if the person isn’t responding or breathing.
  3. Place the person on a flat and secure surface, laying on their back.
  4. Perform 30 chest compressions.
  • Place both hands center-chest;
  • Position the shoulders over the hands and lock the elbows;
  • Go at least 2 inches deep into the chest.
  1. Allow the chest to recoil (return to the initial position after being pressed down) after each compression.
  2. Deliver 2 breaths, 1 second each.
  3. Ensure the chest rises with every breath.

Things to Know About AEDs

Now that we explained one of the halves of what you need to know about AEDs and CPR, let’s do the other half with AEDs.

What Is an AED?

An AED, which is short for an automated external defibrillator, is a portable, compact device used to deliver an electric shock to a heart that’s stopped beating. An AED consists of pads that stick to the victim’s chest, analyze the person’s heart rhythm, and administer a shock if needed. AEDs deliver an electric shock in a particular shockable rhythm assessed by the AED’s computer.

Both medical professionals and laypeople can operate an AED. 

How Do AEDs Work?

This life-saving medical device functions by assessing the heart rhythm of an unconscious person. If there are irregular heart rhythms, the normal cardiac rhythm will be restored by an AED that will deliver an electric shock to the heart.

When to Use an AED?

Since sudden cardiac arrests can happen to anyone at any time, the first thing to do is to call for emergency responders and locate an AED. If you’re in a public space, public-access AEDs should be available. If you notice someone falls to the ground, is unresponsive, and stops breathing, get the AED and start the defibrillation process.

Moreover, if you know someone who suffers from ventricular fibrillation, aka arrhythmia, ensure you know where they keep the AED. This way, you can react fast and help them restore a normal heartbeat in an emergency.

AEDs Can Be Available to Bystanders

Although not every state in the U.S. has imposed mandatory AED possession, some states, like California, have made it obligatory for schools, gyms, sports centers, and community centers to have AEDs on-premises.

When looking for an AED in a public location, look for a transparent box clearly marked AED or Automated External Defibrillator. 

FAQs About What You Need to Know About AEDs and CPR

We expect people may have numerous questions about CPR and AEDs, so we tried to shortlist the most frequently asked questions.

Do I need to plug the AED into an outlet?

Since AEDs are battery-operated, you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet to plug in the device. You need to ensure the batteries are functional.

Why does my AED make sounds? 

AEDs are designed to self-inspect every once in a while. How often these tests occur depends on the device model. On average, an AED will perform a self-test every week. During the testing, if the batteries are nearly empty or the pads have expired, the device will repeatedly signal by producing chirp-like sounds or beeping noises. That’s your cue to turn on the device and listen to the audio explaining the issue that needs attention. 

When should I perform hands-only CPR?

Anytime a person falls unresponsive and non-breathing, you should do hands-only CPR. This CPR form is most effective on adults who lose consciousness out of the blue. Also, when you notice a person isn’t breathing, doing hands-only CPR is still better than not doing anything. 

Can I perform CPR on a baby?

If a baby below the age of one falls into cardiac arrest, you can perform Infant CPR but be mindful only to use two fingers of each hand to give chest compressions. To be absolutely certain of how to perform CPR on a baby, follow the guidelines suggested by the American Red Cross.

Final Words: What You Need to Know About AEDs and CPR

From cardiac arrests to heart attacks and other life-threatening situations, we’re constantly under a lot of stress from an occurring medical emergency. In such a scenario, we’re genuinely grateful for CPR and AEDs.

Whether your beloved’s heart stops beating or someone on the street falls unconscious, knowing how to do CPR or handle an AED can make all the difference. That should wrap about a good amount of what you need to know about AEDs and CPR.