Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training are two different life-saving techniques, that when used together, are the most effective way of saving a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Generally, these two techniques are taught together in first aid courses, but if you are unsure of the difference between the two, or when to use each method, keep reading.
As different subjects like Science and Mathematics are taught in high schools so there must be some credit hours for CPR, it will be beneficial for the students. Having knowledge of CPR will enable them tackle with a cardiac emergency. Most of the heart attack cases occur outside or away from the hospitals in that case necessary first aid is in the form of CPR to the patient and a valuable life can be saved with this knowledge.
What’s worth mentioning in this regard is Texas lawmakers are concerned about it and two people namely Rep. John Zerwas and Sen. Juan Hinojosa, have a bill HB 897/SB 261 proposed to make it compulsory. With this action, a victim of cardiac arrest would have three times more chances of survival as every teen would know the usage of automated defibrillators.
Till now efforts are made, but these are done locally by non-government organizations like Living for Zachary a memorial organization established by Karen Sarah who lost her kid due to sudden cardiac arrest. They are trying to bring AED’s (automated external defibrillator) to schools and train students but due non-compulsory training only a few of them take part in the training sessions.
Arguments given by American Heart Association are really concrete, as they are key activists behind this legislation. We are mentioning a few of them.
- Maximum cardiac emergencies take place away from hospitals in which around 90% victims face death due insufficient use of CPR and AED.
- A 30 minutes training is enough and can be an additional skill for students, they will be able to survive in cardiac emergency situations.
- There is much flexibility in the implementation of CPR training, it could be easily fit in many classes for instance in the science class or PE or most suitably in the Health class for students between grades 7 to 12.
With this regulation approval, Texas will join five states which have already regulated this CPR skill training compulsory for all graduates. These states include Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee and Vermont.
Texas State’s advocacy member of AHA Dr. Amit Khera who is also the director of UT Southwestern Preventive cardiology program says” Many people are alive today due to bystanders of all ages who were trained in CPR and willing to administer the lifesaving technique until emergency medical personnel could take over. By enacting HB 897/SB 261, Texas can create an entire generation of young adults who are not only proficient in CPR but are prepared to step in and help in an emergency situation. This legislation would require a simple, one-time 30 minute course to be implemented prior to graduation and in turn will equip generations to come with the ability to save lives. An overwhelming 79% of Texans favor this training for high school students.”
You must be wondering what AED stands for. AED is automated external defibrillator which is a device used for giving first aid to heart patients.
Wikipedia defines the AED as:
“A portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmia’s of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.”
In simple words, it is a device that lets you monitor the heart rate of a patient and if necessary give electric shocks to the patient’s heart to stabilize it. Even though the device sounds technical, it is designed simply so even a layman can use it. AED training and certification is available during first aid workshops, first responder and basic life support and CPR training programs. An AED can be used is life threatening situations where the patient’s heart is working, but its heart rate pattern is fatal.
How does AED work?
Learning to use an AED is highly intuitive and astonishingly simple. Many people have reported that it is far easier than learning CPR. Current AED courses usually last about three to four hours, include hands-on practice and help increase user competence and confidence.
An AED can be used to shock a patient’s heart back into a normal beating pattern. It is important to bear in mind that an AED only complements manual CPR in life threatening situations.
The AED protocol has seven basic steps:
- Check unresponsiveness.
Establish that the patient is unresponsive or unconscious. You can try talking to the patient, moving things in front of his eyes to check whether his pupils follow, or even gently tap the patient’s face to see if he or she responds.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number (if applicable) and retrieve the AED.
Even if you have an AED with you, it’s important to notify EMS.
- Open the airway and check for breathing. If there is no breathing or breathing appears abnormal, give two slow breaths.
When the heart stops, even though there is no circulation, the victim may continue ineffective breathing motions. Ensure that the windpipe is straight and that there are no obstacles blocking the nostrils or the mouth. Also, there should be no pressure on the throat to allow for easy breathing.
- Check for a pulse. If there is no pulse, turn on the AED. A second rescuer should continue CPR until the AED is attached.
If there is no pulse, turn on the AED power. Press the “on” button or open the lid, depending on the device. If a second rescuer is available, he or she should continue CPR until the AED is attached.
- Attach the AED electrode pads.
Bare the victim’s chest and make sure it is dry. Remove the adhesive AED electrode pads from the package and attach them firmly to the chest, as illustrated on the package. It is very important to place pads correctly so that the electric current passes through the heart. One pad should be placed on the victim’s upper right chest, the other on the lower left chest. Thick chest hair should be removed prior to pad placement to ensure adequate contact.
- Analyze the heart rhythm. Make sure no one is touching the victim.
Some AEDs analyze the heart rhythm automatically. Other models prompt you to press the analyze button. Follow the AED’s prompt and call out, “Analyzing rhythm, stand clear!” or “I’m clear, you’re clear, we’re all clear!” or words to this effect. Make sure no one is touching the victim when the AED is analyzing.
If the AED indicates “shock advised” go to step 7.
If the AED indicates that the victim does not need to be shocked, check his or her pulse again. If there is no pulse, do CPR (ventilation and chest compression) for one minute, instruct onlookers to stand clear, and analyze again. Repeat this sequence of CPR and analysis every minute until help arrives.
- Press the “shock” button, if advised. Make sure no one is touching the victim.
If the AED determines that the victim does need to be shocked, it will prompt you to press the shock button. To ensure the safety of onlookers, make sure no one is touching the victim. Call out, “Shock indicated. Stand clear!” Or, say, “I’m clear, you’re clear, we’re all clear,” or words to this effect. Then, press the shock button. Sometimes, the victim will be revived after just one shock.
- After the first shock is delivered, immediately analyze again. If the AED advises that another shock is needed, press the shock button a second time.
- After the second shock is delivered, immediately analyze again. If the AED advises that another shock is needed, press the shock button a third time.
- After three shocks, if the victim still has no pulse, do CPR (ventilation and chest compression) for one minute.
Then, if there still is no pulse, give additional sets of three quick shocks, interspersed with one minute of CPR, until the AED prompts that no shock is indicated.
Note: The AED will deliver appropriate energy levels for each shock. Continue cycles of one minute of CPR followed by heart rhythm analysis and appropriate shocks until advanced help arrives.
The most important thing to remember when using an AED is to confirm that the victim is unresponsive, not breathing normally and pulseless. For all such victims in confirmed cardiac arrest, turn on the power, analyze, and the AED will coach you through the rest of the steps with visual and/or audio prompts. There is no need to be anxious. Even if you get flustered, as people often do in emergencies, the AED will be your guide.
Sources: Wikipedia, early-defib.org