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  • Writer's pictureDr. Steven Horwitz

AEDs - Which One is Right for Your Facility? What is the Best Location?

"AEDs are portable, life-saving devices designed to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, a medical condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. The AED system includes accessories, such as a battery and pad electrodes, that are necessary for the AED to detect and interpret an electrocardiogram and deliver an electrical shock. There are two main types of AEDs: public access and professional use.

  • Public access AEDs can be found in airports, community centers, schools, government buildings, hospitals, and other public locations. They are intended to be used by laypeople who have received minimal training.

  • Professional use AEDs are used by first responders, such as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, who receive additional AED training." (FDA)

Is the AED FDA approved? Check this table.

AEDs should be placed in the highest-traffic areas and in locations where a sudden cardiac arrest is the most likely to occur. AEDs only save lives when they are easy to find and can be used within 3 minutes of a collapse. The survival rates for cardiac arrest decrease by 10% for each minute that passes without emergency medical treatment. Furthermore, very few patients can be revived after 10 minutes without CPR or an electric shock to restore heart rhythm.

What is the best location for the AED?

  • Can you (briskly) walk to it (ONE minute) and get back to the victim (ONE minute) within TWO minutes? The goal is to have the AED as close to a victim as possible before it is even needed.

  • It should be mounted 48" - 54" from the floor and have unrestricted physical and visual access (no desks, cabinets, doors in the way). The unit must have easy access and clear signage. It should never be locked in a cabinet or out of sight.

    • The cabinet should be marked clearly with Defibrillator/AED.

All AEDs will provide a shock is the device detects a "shockable rhythm." For those with some medical knowledge, this means either ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. The shock provided is based on the energy needed to correct the issue. This is measured in joules. Each manufacturers device will have slightly differing outputs, but all will do the job. All AEDs are operated via battery and will provide many shocks (100 or more) based on the battery purchased. The pads on the AED are one time use and must be replaced if used. Both the battery and pads have expiration dates.

Here are some other considerations:

Voice and/or Text Commands. All AEDs will talk to you. Some provide a screen which will give text commands as well. If you will likely use the AED in a noisy environment, text commands can be very helpul.

Starting the AED. Some AEDs have a Start Button. Some AEDs will start by opening a lid.

Adult and/or Child. Some AEDs will provide one set of pads to be used on any size or aged person. Some AEDs will provide child pads and will adjust the strength of the shock (number of joules) based on whether Adult or Child is selected. Is the AED for a workplace with adults only or is it for a Church or Youth group with a broad mix of ages?

Shock Button. Some AEDs are semi-automatic meaning that the user will have to press the shock button is the AED says "Shock Advised." Other devices are fully automatic meaning that once "Shock Advised" is heard, the AED will give a shock! This means hands off the victim. And some will provide both options giving the owner the ability to set the method of shock. It is very important for all users to know how the device is set!

Compression Advisor. Some AEDs do not provide any feedback on the compressions given by the rescuer. Some will have a rate advisor or metronome and tell the user whether to push faster, push slower, or good rate. Some have an additional feature which provides feedback on the depth of the compressions telling the user to push harder or push softer.

  • You must maintain and test your AED

  • You must inspect the AED monthly

  • If you use it, you must notify local EMS (of course, you would have already called 9-1-1)

  • You must provide staff with AED training

AED Statutes and Regulations in Texas. Click here.

Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) State Law Fact Sheet. Click here.

This should help you determine which AED will fit your needs. If you have any questions, please contact Rockwall CPR. We will help guide you to the right choice.

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