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Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) for AED

1. What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs unexpected and without warning. This is due to cessation of electrical activity that causes an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia. The heart will be unable to pump blood to the brain, heart, lungs and to the rest of the body, causes the person to collapse and become pulseless. The victim is clinically dead and will remain so if the victim does not receive treatment immediately.

2. What is Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when part of the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked, causing the heart muscle to become injured or die. This is due to a build-up of fat and cholesterol, called plaque. This process is known as atherosclerosis.  If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die.

3. What is the difference between Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack?

A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked resulting in the death of the heart muscle, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a circulation problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. Sometimes a heart attack can also trigger a sudden cardiac arrest..

4. What is an AED?

An AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. It is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular rhythm and allow the heart to resume to normal heart rhythm.The heart must be defibrillated as soon as possible, because a victim’s chance of survival may drop by 7 to 10 percent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored.

5. Who can Use an AED?

AED is an easy-to-operate device that can be used from medical personnel, trained responders and also lay rescuers.

6. How Does an AED Work?

The AED comes with pads that will be attached to patient’s bare chest. These electrodes will send information about the person’s heart rhythm to a computer in the AED and will analyse the heart rhythm to find out whether shock is needed. The rescuers will be guided with voice or visual prompts throughout the process. If shock is needed, the AED will instruct the rescuers to give shock by pressing the shock button (Semi-Auto), or will automatically deliver the shock (Fully-Auto) to the victim. Once shock is given, the rescuers just need to wait for further instructions from the AED. This device will analyse patient’s heart rhythm for every two-minutes.

7.  Is AED Safe to Use?

AED is safe to use from medical responders to lay responders. The AED will instruct the rescuer step-by-step throughout the process;
Eg: Apply pads to patient’s bare chest
The device is also designed into the unit precisely so that non-medical responders can’t use the AED to shock someone who doesn’t need a shock. The rescuers just need to follow the instructions from the device and make sure everyone is clear from the victim before shock is delivered.

8. What is the recommended treatment for SCA?

Defibrillation is the only treatment proven to restore a normal heart rhythm. The automated external defibrillator (AED) can be used to administer an electric shock which restores the normal heart rhythm. AEDs are designed to allow non-medical personnel to save lives.

9. How much time do I have to respond if someone has a sudden cardiac arrest?

Theoretically, brain death will occur within 4 – 10 minutes. Using a defibrillator as soon as possible will increase the chance of survival up to 70 percent. After 10 minutes, the chances of survival arelikely to be negligible.

10. Wouldn’t CPR increase the chance of survival as well?

CPR only buys time. It potentially gives the victim an extra time until medical team and a defibrillator arrives. Combination of CPR and AED will increase the chance of survival of the victim.

11. Can the AED itself make a mistake?

It is very unlikely. Studies show that AEDs interpret the victim’s heart rhythm more quickly and accurately than many trained emergency professionals. If the AED determines that no shock is needed, it will not allow a shock to be given.

12. Where should AED be placed?

According to American Heart Association (AHA) the AED should be in public areas such as sports arenas, office, schools, shopping malls, airports, and etc. The AHA also advocates that all police and fire and rescue vehicles must be equipped with an AED.

13. Should I use the AED if the victim has a pacemaker or is pregnant?

Yes, never withhold AED use from a person in Cardiac Arrest.

14. After shock is given to the victim, do I keep the electrode pads on?

Yes, even after a victim has been successfully defibrillated, the victim is at risk of developing Ventricular Fibrillation and may collapse again. The AED will continually analyse the victim’s heart rhythm for every two minutes. The AED should be left on until medical team arrives.

15. Do I need to remove the electrode pads before performing CPR?

No. The electrode pads remain on throughout the emergency process until medical team arrives. If the electrode pads are in their correct locations on the victim’s chest, it will not disrupt the chest compressions process.

16. Why are AED’s important?

For every passing minute, the chances of survival drop by 10%. This portable and lightweight device gives bystanders the opportunity to perform defibrillation outside the hospital while waiting for Emergency Medical Services to arrive. Hence, AEDs strengthen the Chain of Survival.