AED (Automated External Defibrillator)- Definition, Procedure, Handling

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a type of defibrillation machine that can operate on its own. As the name suggests, it measures the heart signal on its own. If the machine is fully automatic type, then it delivers a certain electric shock to the patient. If the machine is semi-automatic, then it will ask the user to deliver the shock manually. The remaining task is carried on by the machine. So, it is easy to use and operate. The operator simply needs to place the self-adhesive electrodes on the chest of the patient.

The machine provides you with text and audio instruction prompts. All you need to do is follow the steps shown by the machine.

How to operate the AED machine?

Follow the following steps for operating the AED machine.

  • Turn on the machine.
  • Then, remove all the clothing that covers the chest of the patient.
  • Wipe off the water from the chest.
  • Remove the disposable self-adhesive pads from the packaging. Remove the protective cover from the electrode pads. Then apply the electrode pads to the patient as shown in the pads or the machine itself. One of the pads goes below the patient’s right collar bone. The other pad goes over the ribs on the patient’s left side below the breast.
  • Plug the connector of the electrode pads into the socket of the machine.
  • Now follow the steps shown by the machine systematically.

Steps for performing the AED and CPR

If the patient is unconscious and is not breathing, then apply AED immediately. If the AED is not available, then apply CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to the patient and call for an ambulance along with the AED. Along with the CPR give two external breathing to the patient after every 30 CPR. However, if you are new to the process of CPR and you are not trained enough, then just deliver CPR at a rate of 100 to 120 bpm. Continue this process, until the AED arrives, or the patient regains his/her consciousness.

When the AED arrives, turn it ON immediately. Then, follow the steps as informed by the machine. The machine will ask you to attach the self-adhesive electrodes to the patient. Now peel off the outer layer of the electrodes. Then attach the electrodes on the upper and lower part of the chest of the patient. The position of placement of the electrodes will also be shown in the pictures on the machine.

Once the electrodes have been attached to the patient, it will ask the operator not to touch the patient. Then the machine will undergo the analysis of the heart rhythm. Then if needed, it will charge to deliver the shock. If the machine is semi-automatic, then it will ask to press the discharge button to supply shock to the patient. Else, it will deliver shock on its own.

After this, the machine will ask you to carry on CPR and external breathing as stated in the first paragraph of this topic.

The process continues until the help arrives, the patient gains consciousness, or the operator exhausts out.

Indication for the use of AED

The machine is used to treat the victims of sudden cardiac arrest who do not display any sign of life. The sign of life includes the following points.

  • Consciousness
  • Breathing
  • Responsive behavior

If the victim shows any one of the given symptoms, then he/she should not be subjected to AED.

Precautions while using AED machine

AED is not suitable for anyone whose weight is approximately less than 25 kg. In other words, it is not suitable for pediatric use.

(Note:-The AED machine is designed in such a way that, it delivers the shock of only 1-2 energy levels. The energy level ranges from around 200J to 360J. This level of energy is suitable for only adults)

Make sure to follow the following steps while using the AED.

  • Do not make physical contact between the self-adhesive electrodes while discharging. Else the machine can explode.
  • Check the expiration date of the disposable electrodes. If the electrodes have been expired, dispose of them properly.
  • Do not use a mobile phone near the machine.
  • Make sure that the machine is not exposed to a strong field of radiation.
  • Do not operate the machine in AC current. Rather fully charge the battery of the machine. Then use it in battery mode during its operation.

(Note:- During the use of the AC current, there will be an increase in the leakage current.)

The other important precautions have been explained in the topic of the manual defibrillator.

Paddle electrode vs self-adhesive electrode

Now let us see some of the major differences between the paddle and self-adhesive electrodes. You can learn about the paddle electrodes in the topic of a manual defibrillator.

Paddle Electrode Self-adhesive Electrode
Paddle electrode is used in the manual form of the defibrillator A self-adhesive electrode is used in the automatic form of the defibrillator.
A gel is not present in the paddle electrode. Thus a suitable gel is needed to be placed on top of the chest of the patient during the use of this kind of electrode. A gel is already present in this kind of electrode. So, you simply need to place it on top of the chest of the patient.
It is reusable in nature. It is disposable in nature. So, a single pair of electrodes is only suitable for a single-use.
Voltage/energy/electric shock can be set.  Thus, it provides better results, if used properly. Voltage/energy/electric shock  is fixed. So, in comparison to that of the paddle electrode, the result may not be as good as it should be.
It is cheaper It is more expensive in comparison to that of the self-adhesive electrode.
Since the process is manual, experts are necessary to operate these kinds of electrodes. Since it is used in the automated type of defibrillator, experts may not be necessary to operate.

Supplier of AED in Nepal

One of the suppliers of AED in Nepal is the Bikash Surgical Concern Pvt. Ltd. The company is located in Tripureswor, Kathmandu. You can contact the given number (01-4248582) if you want to purchase the machine or know its price.


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