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HomeAutomated External Defibrillator No-No's

Automated External Defibrillator No-No's

When Should You Not Use An AED?

In the event of a cardiac arrest, it is vital that the victim receives prompt and quality treatment. When done correctly defibrillation is one of the best treatments available to combat cardiac arrest. In fact the chances of survival are overwhelmingly in the patients favour if there is an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) close by. There are a few tips however in assessing the situation when determining whether or not to use a defibrillator.

There are exceptions that should be made before moving forward with defibrillation and you shouldn’t use an AED on certain people and in certain situations — or it could potentially hurt you or the person you're trying to help. Below, we have compiled a list of scenarios that you should consider before using an AED:

1. The Victim Is Laying On A Conductive Surface

When bystanders use an electrical defibrillator, one of the most important things to know is how to avoid shocking themselves or other bystanders. Conductive surfaces are any materials that carry current, such as metal, steel, or water. If the victim is lying on a conductive surface, the current from the AED could actually pass through them into that material instead of going through to their heart muscle. This could cause severe burns on their skin and other internal damage. 

In addition, if any part of your body comes into contact with a conductive surface while an AED is shocking someone else's heart, it could deliver an electrical shock to your body as well — and possibly deliver more damage than good.

2. Do Not Use An AED In A Moving Vehicle

A moving vehicle is not a suitable environment to use an AED in. The motion of the vehicle can interfere with the device reading, and also may not allow for proper placement of the electrode pads on the victim's chest. If someone is in need of immediate defibrillation they are better off laying on a flat and stationary surface.

3. Do Not Use An AED On A Child Under Age 8 Or Under 90 Pounds.

If you are using an AED on a child under 8 years old, it is important to note that children do not have the same heart rates as adults.  An AED can be used on a child who is unresponsive and not breathing, but it must be done with the appropriate pediatric electrode pads, and not the pads labelled for adults.

Defibrillation Is Better Than No Defibrillation

The takeaway here is simple: defibrillation is better than no defibrillation. So, if you have the AED on hand and there is a medical emergency where someone is unresponsive, there's really no reason not to use it. Just keep these caveats and tips in mind, and remember: never fear that you'll do more harm than good if you use a defibrillator — so long as you're using one correctly, the outcome has a much greater chance of being positive.

AED Advantage is proud to be one of the leading distributors of AEDs and AED replacement parts in North America. They place a great emphasis on customer service and satisfaction. If you have made the wise decision to add a defibrillator to your place of work, or to your home, AED Advantage has a wide selection of AEDs to shop for. Not sure which AED is right for you? Contact a member of the AED Advantage team, they will be more than happy to help you with your purchase decision. 

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