Automated external defibrillator (AED)

At ProSafe First Aid Training in Calgary you will always get AED training and certification.
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that if used correctly diagnoses the life threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Through the application of electricity which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to with CPR to re-establish an effective rhythm.

Myths about the AED

There are some common myths about what an AED does which includes that it starts a stopped heart.
An AED does not start a stopped heart also known as Asystole. What it does is stop the heart when it is beating improperly.
You need Training to use an AED properly.
AED’s are designed to be simple to use for the layperson, with simple audio and visual commands. Although studies show that training does play a significant role in the speed with which and AED is used and every second makes a difference in an emergency. Use of AEDs is taught in all of our First Aid & CPR classes, which includes our Level “C” and Health Care Provider (HCP and BLS) CPR.

Details about the AED

Automated external defibrillator are used in cases of life threatening cardiac arrhythmias which lead to sudden cardiac arrest, which is not the same as a heart attack. The rhythms that the device will treat are usually limited to:

1. Pulseless Ventricular tachycardia (shortened to VT or V-Tach)

2. Ventricular fibrillation (shortened to VF or V-Fib)

In each of these two types of shock-able cardiac arrhythmia, the heart is electrically active, but in a dysfunctional pattern that does not allow it to pump and circulate blood. In ventricular tachycardia, the heart beats too fast to effectively pump blood. Ultimately, ventricular tachycardia leads to ventricular fibrillation. In ventricular fibrillation, the electrical activity of the heart becomes chaotic, preventing the ventricle from effectively pumping blood. The fibrillation in the heart decreases over time, and will eventually reach asystole.
There are no defibrillators that are designed to shock ‘flat line’ patterns (asystole) as this will not be able to start the heart.
Our First Aid and CPR courses will train you on how to handle an emergency situations which has a patient with a stopped heart they only have a chance of survival through a combination of CPR and immediately contacting Emergency Services (911 in Canada) also cardiac stimulant drugs delivered by EMS.

Extra’s about using an AED

Metal can cause interference and if possible removed such as bras with a metal underwire and piercings on the torso. American television show Mythbusters found evidence that use of a defibrillator on a woman wearing an underwire bra can lead to arcing or fire but only in unusual and unlikely circumstances.
AED’s can and should still be used with Children, individuals with Pacemakers and pregnant women.

How well does an AED work?

In a study analyzing the effects of having AEDs immediately present during Chicago’s Heart Start program over a two-year period, of 22 individuals, 18 were in a cardiac arrhythmia which AEDs can treat. Of these 18, 11 survived. 6 were treated by bystanders with absolutely no previous training in AED use.
Observational studies have shown that in out of hospital cardiac arrest, public access defibrillators when used were associated with 40% median survival. When operated by non-dispatched lay first responders they have the highest likelihood of leading to survival.