The Township of Greater Madawaska

An AED and You (can save a life)

AEDs and You…  A Potential Life Saving Combination

Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death.  To assist an individual who in experiencing cardiovascular distress an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) may be used.   An AED is a device that delivers electric shocks to assist with re-establishment of constant heart rhythms of a cardiovascular distress victim.

An AED is a portable device that analyzes the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, allows a rescuer to deliver an electric shock to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) victim.   The act of “Defibrillation” is intended to halt the rapid chaotic heart activity of SCA and help the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm of its own.

An AED works with the fibrillation of the heart.  When an individual goes into cardiac arrest, the AED completes an assessment and will only work when an individual has a shockable rhythm.  The AED is very accurate in assessing heart rhythms and determining if a shock is required.  When a person first starts experiencing the onset of SCA, it is critical they receive immediate medical attention because the chance of survival usually decreases 10% for every minute that medical assistance is not given. However, early defibrillation could raise survival rates 20% or more!

An AED allows even an inexperienced rescuer to rapidly administer defibrillation to a SCA victim.

A major health concern one could experience from a cardiac arrest is lack of oxygen to the brain. Thus, besides preventing death or cardiac arrest complications, AEDs also provide great assistance in preventing brain damage. The brain is able to survive for approximately 4-6 minutes after the heart stops beating (Biology-Online.org, 2006).  After four minutes without oxygen, brain cells have already started dying and the first stages of brain damage may have already occurred. The average human will begin to experience brain damage after 4 minutes without oxygen and by the 6th minute, brain death starts to occur.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of early medical intervention, an AED used with Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) should be implemented! 

Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). CPR helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain.   After the AED is attached and delivers a shock, the typical AED will prompt the operator to continue CPR while the device continues to analyze the victim.  

The combination of AEDs and CPR is a vital tool when assisting an individual who is experiencing cardiac distress. CPR should always be used with an AED.  An AED is not beneficial to a SCA victim when the body is not receiving oxygen.

The power to save a life could be in your hands… please know where the AED is in your community and trust it could help you save a life!  All you have to do is turn it on and follow the easy, clear verbal instructions!

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