Are you unsure if you should use a defibrillator?
Around 240 million 911 calls are made in the USA every year. In most cases, first responders arrive at the scene and see someone who needs immediate medical care. Often, they need resuscitation and a defibrillator to stabilize their condition.
However, there are times when emergency services won’t get to your location in time. In these cases, the life of anyone in critical condition is in your hands. You may need to use a defibrillator to stabilize their condition as you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
When do you use a defibrillator, though? Does the situation call for it, or is it unnecessary?
To learn all you need to know, read what we’ve prepared below. These are five key facts to keep in mind when someone’s life is at stake.
- There are Defibrillators in Different Establishments and Institutes
Nowadays, it’s mandatory for different establishments and buildings to have a defibrillator installed somewhere within their premises. Schools, police stations, and even churches will always have one ready to use.
Even ambulances and police cars have a mounted defibrillator installed somewhere on the vehicle. These are available to use whether or not the vehicle’s engine is active. Look here for more information about the defibrillators mounted on ambulances.
It’s important to note that almost all commercial buildings have one, too. This is so you can access them whenever an emergency happens right there at the moment. It’s more likely to happen than you think, considering that 356,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals in the US every year.
When you see one happening, it’s best that you use the nearest defibrillator you can find. What’s great is that there are apps that can help you find defibrillators in the area.
Apps like HeartStart will point you towards the nearest registered defibrillator. They also contact first responders for you with the press of a button.
- Defibrillators Can Degrade Even When Not In Use
Most people don’t realize that defibrillators need maintenance even when you don’t use them. They have a lot of small parts that are vital to the functions of the device. Without proper maintenance, they will degrade and will not function as well as they could.
This is why you should also stop to consider if the device works as intended before using it. Modern defibrillators have a green light on the top to indicate if it’s ready to use. It should also tell you if it has sufficient batteries to deliver a shock to the individual in question.
Other than that, the battery and shock pads also have an expiration date. Check to see if they’re still in good condition before using the defibrillator. If you don’t, it can endanger the person who needs emergency care.
This is why it’s important for defibrillator holders to perform daily checks on the device. This allows them to update it if they need to do so.
If you’re in doubt about the viability of a defibrillator, it’s best that you wait for emergency responders. They’ll handle the situation for you. All you need to do is care for the person in need until they arrive.
- Defibrillators Don’t Jump-Start the Heart
Contrary to popular belief, defibrillators don’t jump-start the heart. Instead, they completely stop the heart for a brief moment. The heart then resets, allowing it to normalize its beats.
It does so by sending a shock through a person’s chest cavity. This is why it’s important to know whether the person has a pacemaker on them. It’s best to avoid using a defibrillator in this case, as it can disrupt how it works.
If you need to, though, avoid placing the defibrillator pads on top of the pacemaker. Deliver the shock without touching it if it’s possible, instead.
This is also why you shouldn’t use defibrillators when a person is slightly damp. People will sweat a lot when they’re experiencing a cardiac arrest. If you need to use a defibrillator, make sure to wipe the area where you’ll place the pads first.
This ensures the conditions are right for the shock. Also, make sure the person is lying on a dry patch of ground before using the device on them.
- Defibrillator Pads Detect Heart Rhythms When Placed on a Person’s Chest
When do you use a defibrillator? Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have a special feature to use. This feature allows it to detect whether there’s a shockable rhythm when placed on a person’s chest.
However, the downside of this feature is that it’s incredibly sensitive. The slightest obstacle makes it hard for the device to detect the rhythm. This also happens when the person has a hairy chest.
Shave the chest area before you use the defibrillator to make sure you get an accurate reading. If there’s no razor available, just apply as much pressure as you can to avoid misreadings.
This is also why you shouldn’t use defibrillators when a person has a heart attack. The shockable rhythm of a person having a heart attack can cause the defibrillator to deliver too much power in one shock. Knowing the difference between the two conditions is key to knowing if you should use the device.
- Delays Cause Defibrillators to Be Less Effective
Time is crucial when someone is having a cardiac arrest. This is why it’s important that you use a defibrillator as soon as you are able. If you don’t know how to use one, then you need not worry.
Modern defibrillators have voice prompts for ease of use. This allows people unfamiliar with the device to use it effectively in any situation.
The only reason you should hesitate is when the person has a DNR tag on them. You may be liable to legal charges when you try to use a defibrillator to resuscitate them.
When Do You Use a Defibrillator? Learn the Key Facts Today
What is a defibrillator if not a way to stabilize someone in critical condition? When do you use a defibrillator, though? Knowing when it’s the right time can help you save a life.
Do you want to learn more about how to handle different medical equipment? Our other guides can help you understand the different instruments in the medical field. Check them out and learn all you can today!