Debunking Myths and Misconceptions About AEDs

If a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) around you, you are often at a loss of what to do. Although there may be a defibrillator (AED) around, you don’t really know how to use it on the patient or mostly you are very scared to operate it because of the misconceptions you have about AEDs. You are very worried that you will either hurt the patient or you may end up getting a shock while using an AED.

There is nothing really to be alarmed about. Using an AED is quite simple and has step-by-step instructions to guide you on how to use it if a person is suffering from a SCA. Let us take a look at some of the myths and misconceptions about AEDs that make people so uncomfortable using them.


Myth: To Use an AED, You Must Be a Trained Medical Person

A defibrillator can be used by anyone, even if they have not had any medical training. AED equipment is very easy to operate and can be used by people of all ages. It has step-by-step directions along with pictures or voice guided instructions that will help you to use the equipment on a patient suffering from SCA.

Myth: You Can Hurt the Patient by Using Both CPR and Defibrillation on Them

The AED will deliver a shock only if it detects abnormal cardiac rhythm and if the patient has suffered from a SCA. Administering CPR and also using a defibrillator will improve the chances of the patient’s survival. Any bruises or broken ribs that a patient may suffer when administering CPR will heal; however, once the chance for defibrillation and CPR has passed, the patient cannot be saved.

Myth: Using an AED Can Give You a Shock Too

The AED will not deliver a shock to the patient if it does not detect an abnormal cardiac rhythm. In the case that you are touching the patient while a shock is being administered by using a defibrillator, you will not get a major shock, the maximum you will really feel is a slight twinge.

Myth: Using an AED Will Guarantee the Survival of a Patient Suffering from SCA

When a person has suffered a SCA, using CPR and defibrillation are not guaranteed methods for their survival due to several reasons. However, if an AED is used along with CPR in the first 3 to 5 minutes of a patient suffering from a SCA, the survival rate of the person increases by anywhere between 6 and 74 percent.

Myth: You Need Not Use an AED on the Patient If the Ambulance Will Be Arriving Soon

As soon as the person suffers from SCA, immediate administering of defibrillation will ensure the best chance of the patient’s survival. Every minute is critical when the person suffers from SCA and with each minute without defibrillation, the chances of survival of the person reduces by 10%. You must administer the AED and perform CPR until the emergency medical team arrives.

Myth: If the Patient Has a Pacemaker, You Should Not Defibrillate Them

An AED can be used to administer a shock to a patient who has suffered from SCA even if they have a pacemaker. However, you must ensure that the top pad of the defibrillator is placed a little away from the pacemaker, closer to the patient’s arm.

Myth: The AED Will Restart the Patient’s Heart Even If Has Flatlined

An AED delivers a shock to the heart when it detects abnormal cardiac rhythm, which stops the heart for a bit and allows it to restart and resume normal functioning. However, if the heart has flatlined, the defibrillator has no heartbeat to reset. So, when a heart flatlines, the best option is to perform CPR, so that the vital organs receive sufficient blood supply until medical help arrives.

An AED is designed to save lives of the patient who has suffered a SCA and the use of the equipment is extremely simple. With a little information and myths clarified, you can be more confident in using a defibrillator and save a life if needed.


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