Safe Operation of Automated External Defibrillator (AED)


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Hi, I'm Mark for CPR Certification Institute. Today we're gonna review some safety tips when using an automatic external defibrillator. Now AED technology has shot through the roof over the last decade. You can't go into public without finding an AED hanging on the wall. You're gonna find them in shopping malls, airports. I found one in a bathroom stall the other day, so AEDs are out there, and we want to use them because they're our best chance for saving an adult during a cardiac arrest. But we have to remember what these devices really do, which is stop your heart. That's right. They stop your heart, so they demand a little respect.

Let's review the safe operation of an AED. First, be familiar with your equipment. If you have an AED, know how to use it. Review the owner's manual and be familiar with that device. Next, implanted devices. Most implanted pacemaker or pacemaker defibrillators will be implanted under the patient's left clavicle. That's why when you apply the pads you'll put them on the patient's high right low left. That's to avoid placing a pad on top of or over an implanted device like a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator.

Next, medication patches. Do not place an AED pad on top of a medication patch. Make sure you remove the medication patch first and dry off the area. Many of these medication patches have a metal layer built into them to help keep the medicine going in one direction inside the patient. Again, do not place an AED pad on top of a medication patch. Now, should the patient have say a birth control patch on her hiney, we don't have to go looking for that. We're only concerned about the medication patch placement wherever we're gonna put our AED pad.

Next, gaseous environments. Explosive environments. When can this happen? Well, it can happen in a workplace if you're using flammable gasses. If that's the case, then you may want to refrain from defibrillating the patient in that atmosphere until it could either be vented or preferably the patient removed out of that environment. The last thing we want is this. Clear, shocking in three, two, one ... That, of course, would be bad.

Now generally, electricity and water don't mix. The same holds true when we're applying and using an AED. We want to make sure that the patient's chest is dry before we place the pads. This is for a couple of reasons. One, so that water coming off the patient doesn't transfer the shock to another person. Two, we want that energy going through the heart from one pad to the other pad and through the heart. If the energy gets diverted elsewhere because the patient's wet, that's less energy that could have gone through the heart. Now in most AEDs, they'll have an accessory bag. In that bag should be some kind of towel so you could dry the patient's chest off before applying the AED pads. Make sure your patient's dry.

Now when applying the AED pads, you're gonna have to expose the patient's entire chest. Yes, this includes females too. Have a pair of shears inside that bag with your AED. Now, this is for cutting through sweaters, t-shirts, and underwire bras or brassiere. Now on large breasted gals, when she's lying flat on her back her breasts are gonna move laterally. You're gonna place one pad high right and then the low left, do not place it on top of the breast tissue. Lift the breast up, and you're gonna have to place it underneath the breast, again lower left of patient's axilla area on their side. Not only do we have to have the heart in between the pads, but we have to have the pads as close to the heart as possible. If I were to put a pad on top of breast tissue, that's just further the energy has to go to get to the heart. Again, on large breasted gals, high right, lift the breast out of the way, go underneath the breast.

Now, remember when putting the pads on the patient there's wires coming off of those pads. Make certain that the wire doesn't accidentally get caught underneath the pad. Again, anything that diverts energy away from going through that heart is a bad thing. Again, make sure that the wires don't get stuck underneath the pads when you're applying them to the patient.

You're looking at them picture, and you're thinking, "Hey, it's Bigfoot." No, it's actually my father walking to the bathroom at a rest stop in Wisconsin during a family camping trip. We took the picture; it got posted as Bigfoot. The point I'm making here is look how hairy he is. My dad's not covered with hair; he's covered with fur. When applying the AED pads, the pads have to make good contact with the skin. They have to be able to read the rhythm and interpret it and have to be able to deliver the shock. If I put pads on a furry guy, the pads won't make connect. Now in your accessory kit, hopefully, you have a razor or something that you can get rid of some of this hair. If not, a technique you could use is push the pads on as hard as you can, rip them off, give the brother a quick Brazilian, then put the pads back on. Now, this technique might require the use of a second set of pads. One pad to remove the hair; a second set to interpret and defibrillate the patient.

One of the most important safety concerns when using an AED is remembering to clear the patient before you hit that shock button. Before you hit that shock button you look from the head to the toe of the patient, make sure no one's touching the patient. I am clear. You're clear. Shocking in three, two, one, administer the shock.

Quick review. Remember to watch out for wetness, big boobs, hairy people, implanted devices, medication patches, and remember to clear the patient. I'm Mark for CPR Certification Institute, and this has been AED safety and special considerations for use. Remember you can get certified in CPR right now. Log on to and get started. I'm Mark. Thanks for watching. See you in the next video.