12 Days of Christmas: Defibrillation with Little Donkey
Date: Friday, 14 December 2018. -
Little Donkey is unfortunately busy starring in Nativity plays, but we have another Donkey that is willing to share his festive first aid knowledge. He is here today to present you with the tenth day of our Christmas first aid special, where you will learn how to save a cardiac arrest victim’s life with defibrillation.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest sadly affects around 60,000 people each year in the UK and the only definitive treatment for this is effective CPR and use of a defibrillator. If a defibrillator is used, alongside CPR, within the first 3-5 minutes in a cardiac arrest emergency, chance of survival increases from 6%-74%.
What is a defibrillator?
An Automated External Defibrillator is a user-friendly device that will provide a potentially life-saving shock if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected. These abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, are known as either Ventricular Tachycardia or Ventricular Fibrillation. If a defibrillator recognises these particular rhythms, it will deliver a shock to the patient, with the aim of restoring their natural heart rhythm.
How to use a defibrillator
You do not have to be trained to use a defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest. Most of these devices are now equipped with visual aids and voice prompts to ensure that anybody can use one in an emergency to help save a life.
- Turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts and visual cues
- Remove the casualty’s clothing from their upper chest
- Take out the electrode pads from the packaging and place on the patient’s bare chest as directed by the device
- Once both electrode pads are in place, the defibrillator will begin to analyse the casualty’s heart rhythm. The device will advise you to stand back and do not touch the patient during the analysis
- The AED will shock the victim if a shock is advised and the AED is a fully automatic device. If the device is semi-automatic, you will need to push the flashing shock button in order to deliver the life-saving shock. Follow the prompts from the AED and continue CPR. If no shock is advised, no shock will be delivered, so responders should continue to follow the prompts from the AED and resume CPR.
- Continue with CPR for two minutes
- After two minutes, the AED will re-analyse the casualty’s heart rhythm to see if another shock is required or not. This sequence of two minutes of CPR followed by analysis will continue until professional help arrives.
We hope that Donkey’s guide to using a defibrillator has boosted your confidence, should you ever have to use one in a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. However, if you feel as if you need a more practical and hands-on experience with defibrillation, we have Defibrillator Courses available.
Do you know where your nearest defibrillator is located? Hopefully not too far, far away! Let us know where your nearest defibrillator is, or if you have any questions about this topic, by tweeting us @ImpTraining.