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Trauma Triad of Death

March 25th, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Environmental Emergencies - (0 Comments)

The trauma triad of death is a group of interrelated symptoms which includes, hypothermia, coagulopathy and acidosis that if left untreated, may lead to death.Trauma Triad

The trauma triad of death is a group of interrelated symptoms that if left untreated, may result to irreparable tissue damage and even death. These three conditions is a vicious cycle that begins with hypothermia that will eventually result to coagulopathy due to the temperature dependence of all clotting mechanisms. This will be followed by acidosis. The three conditions will compound one another in an intensifying chain of events. When an individual begins to show the trauma triad of death, it is considered a medical emergency.

Hypothermia is considered the entryway to the triad as clotting mechanisms are dependent on the temperature. When the body decreases in temperature, no clotting occurs, leading to coagulopathy. As a result, haemorrhage will cause a decline in blood pressure and amount of available oxygen, resulting to the cells transforming to anaerobic metabolism. Subsequently, the release of lactic acid will further inhibit clotting and cellular function. Consequently, there will be a reduced cardiac output causing even less oxygen to be available. The decreased myocardial performance will also lead to hypothermia.

Trauma Triad of Death: Hypothermia

Hypothermia is when the body temperature drops to below the temperature essential for normal metabolism and other body functions to occur. The following facts are known about hypothermia, the first step in the trauma triad of death:

  • Occurs when body is below 35°C (95°F), versus normal body temperature which is approximately 37°C plus minus 0.5°C (98.6°F)
  • Body is losing more heat than it is producing
  • May affect thinking and lead to confusion
  • Usually caused by spending too much time outside in an extremely cold weather

Trauma Triad of Death: Coagulopathy

                Blood clotting is essential to stop bleeding. Normal blood clotting is temperature dependent, thus when the core temperature is too low, certain body functions cannot occur, which includes coagulopathy. Thus, bleeding may be difficult to control. The following facts are known about coagulopathy, the second step in the trauma triad of death:

  • Also called bleeding problems, as there is impairment in body’s ability to clot
  • Series of steps that involves 20 different plasma proteins (also called coagulation or blood clotting factors)
  • May cause excessive bleeding

Trauma Triad of Death: Acidosis

Acidosis is a condition wherein there is too much acid in the body fluids. Acidosis is caused by too much carbon dioxide in the body or due to too much acid production. The following facts are known about acidosis, the third step in the trauma triad of death:

  • Proper blood pH should be within the range 7.35 to 7.45
  • Proper pH levels is maintained by the kidneys and lungs
  • May lead to depression of the central nervous system

Causes of Trauma Triad of Death

The following are some examples of causes that may lead to the trauma triad of death:

  • Car accidents
  • Falling from great heights
  • Severe bleeding or haemorrhage
  • Shock

First Aid Management for Trauma Triad of Death

It is necessary to apply first aid in first signs of hypothermia or severe bleeding to prevent the onset of trauma triad of death. Because trauma leads to the triad of death, following steps are generally recommended:

  • Call for emergency medical services.
  • If protective gear is available, make use of them.
  • If there is bleeding, it is necessary to control bleeding. Apply deep, direct pressure using an absorbent cloth or dressing. Keep the pressure in place and apply dressings over the old ones.
  • Check for the victim’s circulation, airway, breathing, disability/ deformity and exposure.
    • Check for the victim’s pulse by the groove on the neck. If no pulse is detected, initiate CPR. Give 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breathings.
    • If the victim is unconscious, ensure that there is no obstruction in the airway. Turn the victim’s head to the side.
    • To check for breathing, position own cheek a few inches from the victim’s nose and mouth. Feel for air and watch for rise and fall of chest. Begin rescue breathing if necessary.
    • Cover the victim with a blanket or coat to avoid heat loss.

It is necessary to be observant for symptoms of the trauma triad of death in cases of emergencies. Enrol in First Aid Training and CPR Courses to learn how to recognize symptoms, and effectively and properly perform CPR to victims. CPR is a lifesaving technique that can be useful in avoiding the onset of the trauma triad of death.

Sources:

Acidosis. (2011). National Institute of Health. Retrieved on October 15, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001181.htm

Bleeding Disorders. (2011). National Institute of Health. Retrieved on October 15, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001304.htm

Hypothermia. (2012). National Institute of Health. Retrieved on October 15, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hypothermia.html

Stopping the triad before it starts. (ND). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on October 15, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/medicalprofs/trauma-triad-of-death-tue1012.html

 

What is First Aid?

April 16th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in How to be Prepared - (0 Comments)

First aid is an immediate and first line treatment for people with injuries or medical emergencies. It provides relief and prevents further injury or even death before paramedics or professional medical services arrive.

The Golden Period

Giving first aid within the “golden period” – the time between the injury and application of intervention – is very important for it will shorten the duration of healing and recovery, as well as better determine the outcome of first aid kitthe patient’s treatment.

Knowledge of first aid, whether it is a simple scrape or something more serious like a heart attack, will somehow give you confidence to act and do something. Presence of mind and common sense are also important in order to deliver and achieve the expected outcome of the intervention. To learn the basic skills on providing first aid you can take a St Mark James first aid course here.

Recognize an Emergency

First of all, one must be able to identify the injury or situation, and consider the different needs and risks of the victim. Remember that in every situation, there are different types of management schemes; therefore, one must be very careful in assessing the patient and performing first aid, for it can worsen the injury. Communication with the victim and other people in the vicinity is also crucial to the thorough assessment of the patient. Establishing trust between you and the conscious patient as well as his or her companions, is necessary to prevent presumptions from arising. Consider getting help from the people around you because the task can be exhausting.  For example, when giving chest compressions, others who were trained to administer chest compressions could relieve you when you get tired.

The Right Equipment – Owning a First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit close-at-hand is another important thing. Remember that time is of the essence during an emergency situation, so none of it should be wasted on looking for materials and medicines to be used. Before storing your kits, read the instructions on each item and familiarize yourself with them. This is because you will not have the time to read during an emergency. You also have to check your first aid kits on a regular basis. Check the expiry dates and condition of the medicines to ensure safety. Store your kits in proper containers and organize the items according to function so that it will be easier for you to find your things during an emergency.

A basic first aid kit is composed of:

  1. Several pairs of sterile gloves
  2. Surgical scissors
  3. Sterile bandages, band aids, cotton,  & gauze pieces
  4. Antiseptic such as 70% alcohol and Beta dine solution
  5. Splints for fractures
  6. Pain relievers. Consider topical preparations
  7. A tourniquet for controlling profuse bleeding that cannot be controlled by any other means.
  8. A topical antibiotic gel or cream
  9. Burn creams such as  silver sulfadiazine
  10. Hot and cold packs

In times of accidents, disasters, natural calamities, and health related emergencies, your preparedness and knowledge about first aid will be able to save lives. Being able to respond and act quickly and effectively during emergency situations can make a huge difference between life and death, not only to other people but most especially to your own families.

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Mouth or tongue pain

March 19th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Oral Pain - (0 Comments)

Mouth or tongue pain refers to pain or discomfort in any of the structures inside a person’s mouth. Pain may target the gums, teeth, tongue, cheeks or throat depending on the cause.

A person with mouth or tongue pain may experience sore throat, swollen tonsils, dental pain, and drainage from tonsils, tongue or mouth lesions, and swollen glands in the neck or mouth ulcers. People may also experience additional symptoms such as facial swelling or facial tenderness, facial pain, tongue swelling, gum swelling mouth swelling, difficulty swallowing or opening the mouth, gum redness and difficulty breathing.

If you report your condition to your health care provider he may choose the required treatment measures depending on the cause of the problem. General treatment for mouth and tongue pain may include antiseptic mouth painmouthwash, saline solution gargles, vitamin supplements, antiviral medications, antibiotic medications, regular dental cleaning, proper oral hygiene and pain medication to resolve pain.

Disclaimer: this post on mouth or tongue pain is for learning purposes only. To learn more about infections, swelling, bleeding and fever’s register for a first aid and CPR course through a St Mark James training provider.

Causes of mouth or tongue pain

  • Dental abscess
  • Aphthous ulcers
  • Gingivitis
  • Glossitis
  • Facial injury
  • Mouth or tongue injury
  • Dental injury
  • Ludwig’s angina
  • Laryngeal tumor
  • Mouth cancer
  • TMJ disease
  • Oral foreign body
  • Oral thrush
  • Strep throat
  • Viral pharyngitis
  • Poorly fitted dentures
  • Vincent’s stomatitis

Signs and symptoms of mouth or tongue pain

Signs and symptoms of mouth or tongue pain include:

  • Dental pain
  • Sore throat
  • Red, inflamed tonsils – white pus on tonsils
  • Mouth or tongue ulcers
  • Severe swelling of the tonsils – on one side of the throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Facial swelling or facial tenderness
  • Mouth swelling
  • Tongue swelling
  • Gum inflammation and redness
  • Mouth or tongue lesions
  • Swelling under the tongue
  • Swelling under the chin
  • White coating on the throat
  • White coating on the tongue
  • While coloration around the lining of the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth widely
  • Inability to close the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing

Treatment

Treatment for mouth and tongue pain is administered depending on the cause of the condition. General treatment may include saline mouthwash, antibiotics, antiviral medication, proper oral hygiene and pain medication.

Treat mouth or tongue pain with the following:

  • Gargle with antacid
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Gargle at least thrice a day with saltwater
  • Drink cold fluids
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication to resolve pain
  • Checkup with your dentist regularly and consider regular professional dental cleaning
  • Follow a proper oral hygiene – brush after every meal, brush before bedtime, floss every day
  • Take antibiotic or antiviral medication as prescribed by your dentist

Home care

  • Avoid salty foods
  • Follow a soft diet
  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • Drink plenty of cold fluids
  • Take oral numbing medication
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication or acetaminophen for pain
  • Take medication as prescribed by your dentist and avoid skipping doses

 Learn More

Learn more about mouth, tongue pain, bleeding and infections by signing up for first aid and CPR training with a St Mark James training provider.

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The invention of modern medicines has played a crucial role in improving the quality and longevity of life. Medicines are made of either natural or synthetic compounds that are intended to treat various health conditions. However, these substances can also cause health problems, particularly poisoning, if taken more than the safe amounts or alongside other substances. Taking expired medications can also lead to serious health problems so safe disposal of unused mediations is important to prevent potential harm.

Important Disclaimer: the material posted on this blog for preventing accidental poisoning is for information purposes only. Take a St Mark James first aid course  to learn how to help individuals with taking medication (ex: 6 rights of medication) and how to manage poisonings.

Check the Expiration Dates

The Food and Drug Administration requires all pharmaceutical products to contain expiration dates. The expiration dates are critical in determining whether a product is still safe for consumption and will work as expected. drug overdoseThis information is normally found stamped onto the carton or bottle or printed on the label. It is important that you read the label and check the expiration date before taking any medication.

Expired Drugs

Aside from the fact that expired medical products are less effective, they can be risky due to the chemical changes in its composition. It may be difficult to predict how an expired drug will affect the body. Moreover, treating poisoning due to expired medications is often more challenging. Usually, medical products have an antidote which is taken to manage or treat a person in case of accidental overdose or poisoning. In the case of expired drugs, the full intended effects of these antidotes are not guaranteed. It is quite difficult to predict what chemical changes have occurred in the overdosed medications and how it can best be handled. Healthcare providers administering emergency treatment may rely on diagnostic tests to treat the problem.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends checking medicine cabinets regularly for any unused or expired medications. If you have any of these medications, you should consider disposing them safely. The proper disposal of medications cannot be overemphasized. This is because improper disposal of unused medications may pose harm not just to humans but also the environment. For example, the medications you disposed may end up in the hands of other people who can either intentionally or accidentally take the medications, or the medications can also be flushed to tributaries affecting its ecology.

How to Dispose of Expired Medications

Here’s how you can safely dispose unused or expired medications:

  • Remove the medication from its original container. Mix it with dirt, coffee grounds, or kitty litter, so that it becomes unappetizing. Place the mixture in a tightly sealed plastic bag or container. Then, put it in the regular garbage.
  • Make sure you peel off the label and other identifying information from the container to ensure your privacy. Dispose or recycle the container.

However, these general guidelines do not apply to strong sedatives and painkillers. As much as possible, these drugs should be turned over to qualified professionals for safe disposal. If it is not possible, the medications should be flushed down the toilet to minimize potential hazards. For drug-specific instructions, you can check the medication label about proper drug disposal.

Learn More

To learn more about helping people take medication and how to treat poisonings enrol in St Mark James first aid and CPR training (sign up here). Check out our locations page for more information about providers near you.

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Managing an Ankle Sprain

February 21st, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Sprains and Strains - (0 Comments)

Important Disclaimer: The details posted on this page are for information purposes only. Learn to manage, recognize and help people with sprains and strains by enrolling in St Mark James first aid and CPR training.

Ankle sprains can be very painful, but they are easy to treat and are thus, not potentially life threatening problems.

Seek immediate medical attention if the following problems result:ankle-sprain1-1

  • Bruising, swelling and pain is severe
  • The ankle seems to be deformed
  • You suspect a bone might be broken–or a bone is protruding out
  • You suspect that the ankle may be dislocated
  • The ankle cannot bear any weight and the pain is not letting you walk

Treatment

Follow these treatment steps to heal your ankle sprain:

1. Control any swelling. Remove any anklets or ankle bracelets and toe rings if the casualty is wearing any
2. Follow RICE:

  • Rest. Rest your ankle. You may use crutches if needed
  • Ice. Apply an ice pack or ice wrapped with a towel on your ankle for about 20-30 minutes. This should be repeated several times a day and continued for 48 hours.
  • Compress. Compress the affected region by wrapping it with a sterile elastic bandage. Avoid wrapping the ankle too tightly as it may discourage blood flow.
  • Elevate. Elevate the affected region above heart level, if practical, for the first 2 days of injury.

3. Control any inflammation and/or pain in or around the affected region. Take over the counter pain medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relive pain. Avoid giving aspirin to young children and teenagers below 18 years of age.
4. See your doctor. Whether your ankle pain is mild or severe, it is important that you make an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible.

Learn More

For more information and training pertaining to managing and helping victims of ankle sprains take a St Mark James program (more information).

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First Aid for Tapeworms

February 8th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Infections / Viruses / Parasites - (0 Comments)

Tapeworms are harmful parasites that affect the digestive systems and the intestines where they consume raw meat, fish and unsanitary water. Since tapeworms are parasites, they acquire their nutrition from simply feeding on their host.

Tapeworms are often ingested along with food with cysts that hatch and through water containing the eggs of tapeworms. Cysts hatch to produce adult tapeworms whereas; eggs hatch and produce larvae—which move to the stomach paincyst phase and then the adult phase.

Tapeworms can develop into adults varying from 15 to 30 feet lengthwise. They are flat worms that reside in the intestinal tract of humans.

Tapeworms are often diagnosed through various tests, such as a stool sample to check for eggs or any other form of tapeworm segments. Sometimes cysts may also be present in the brain, therefore, doctors may choose to perform an MRI or CT scan. Additionally blood tests may also prove the presence of infections through the availability of antibodies that combat it.

This topic is not covered in any St Mark James first aid and CPR course and should only be diagnosed by a medical practitioner. If you believe you have tapeworms and / or you are suffering from the following symptoms contact your doctor.

Symptoms

  • Upper abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Unusual appetite—may be high or low
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Anemia—rare—caused only form the consumption of contaminated fish

If the cysts have affected the meninges of the brain, the following problems may occur:

  • Headaches due to inflammation
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Other neurological symptoms

A disease called cysticercosis is caused due to pork tapeworms. The disease is often caused when the larvae break though the intestinal walls and move into the bloodstream, tissues, internal organs, muscles and skin—where they form cysts which hatch to develop adult tapeworms.

Cysts that violate the skin tissue may be apparent to you. If you suspect that you have been infected, consult your doctor immediately to prevent any further damages, especially affecting the vital organs such as the heart and brain.

Treatment

Treatment involves taking a single anti-inflammatory or anti-parasitic drug.

Cysticercosis is usually not treated unless the brain is affected. Anti-parasitic drugs with corticosteroid are given to relive inflammation.

Prevention

  • Strict laws are based in order to prevent the consumption of meat that is not bred to be eaten.
  • Cysts are often visible in raw meat; therefore, make sure you check the meat before you consume it.
  • Freeze your meat before cooking it.
  • Make sure you properly cook your meat before you eat it—for at least 135 F.
  • Drying, smoking or slightly heating the meat will not kill the cysts.
  • Do NOT consume freshwater fish raw.
  • While swimming in fresh water, make sure you do not drink it as it may contain numerous parasites, cysts and eggs.

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First Aid For Foreign Bodies In The Eye

January 20th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Embedded Objects - (0 Comments)

The human eye gives us the sense of sight, enabling us to learn more about the physical world and making daily activities easier. We use it every day and in almost everything we do, which puts it at greater risk for damage.

Composed of very delicate parts, our eyes are among the most sensitive parts of the human body. Although the human eye is equipped with anatomical parts and reflexes that protect its delicate structures, foreign bodies can inadvertently get into the eye which can lead to eye injury.

Embedded ojbect in eye

It is important to be careful when managing any eye injury or irritation.

There are many types of foreign bodies that can get lodged in the eye: a loose eyelash, misplaced contact lens, a speck of dust, and just about any tiny items. While foreign objects in the eye do not always lead into an emergency, they can cause severe discomfort or pain, and even serious damage to eyes.

Symptoms of Foreign Bodies in the Eye

  • Discomfort or pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Coarse feeling in the eye
  • Spasms of the eyelids
  • Soreness and watery eyes

First Aid Treatment

In most cases, these foreign bodies can be easily rinsed off. However, when providing first aid for any eye injuries, your main goal is to prevent further damage to the eyes and get medical help as soon as possible.

If the embedded object can be manipulated and there is no visible injury or bleeding:

  1. Assist the person on his back or in a sitting position with head overextending to the back. Keep the head stable and prevent movement by holding it.
  2. Stand behind the person and gently open up the eyelids using your thumb and finger.
  3. Check every part of the eye by asking the person to look left, right, up and down.
  4. If the foreign body is on the white of the eye:
  • Flush it out using a sterile eye-wash bath (if available) or clean water poured from a glass.
  • Ask the person to incline towards the injured side and place pad or towel over the shoulder.
  • Continue to pour water from the nose bridge, allowing the object to be flushed
  • If this fails, then use a moist swab or the damp corner of a hanky or tissue to lift the object off the white part of the eye.
  • If still unsuccessful, seek medical assistance.

5. If the foreign body is under the upper eyelid:

  • Ask the person to pull down the upper lid towards the lower lid.
  • Eyelashes of the lower lid may brush off the foreign body.

6. If bleeding or serious eye injury is apparent, or if the embedded object is large:

  • Instruct the person to keep his eye still, focused towards one direction to prevent movement of the injured eye.
  • Never try to manipulate the object embedded in the eye. If it is long, such as a stick, pen and other elongated objects, gently support it from its base to avoid movement.
  • If the object is small but cannot be flushed out using water or bleeding is apparent, place a clean pad over but do not push down. Bandage may be used to hold the pad in place.

Take note that these are just the basic guidelines for first aid treatment, for added skills it is recommended that you complete first aid training courses available through your local St Mark James Chapter.

Using A Eye Wash Station

First Aid for Spider bites

January 9th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Poisonings - (0 Comments)

Spider bites

Not all spiders affect the human health; however, there are some such as the black widow spider and the brown recluse that are medically significant spiders because their bites are detrimental to humans. Spider bites are often not detected until the signs and symptoms begin to appear.

However, symptoms may be caused by other factors such as chemicals, infections or allergies that are mistaken to be spider bites. If you suspect that you have been bitten by a spider, look for one in your household and try to identify it through markings, color etc., so that you can tell your doctor about what caused the symptoms.

The black widow spider and the brown recluse prefer dark and warm climates where there are ample flies to hunt on. You will find them in dry, dirty, peaceful areas where there is no human interruption, such as closets, under sinks and wood piles.

Symptoms

Almost every spider is venomous; however, severe effects are very rare because the venom is either weak or discharged in small amounts. Symptoms of a spider bite are similar to insect bites:

black widow

A Black Widow, pictured above, can produce a bite that can be fatal to humans.

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling

Causes

  1. Black widow spider

A black widow spider is identified with a red marking, shaped like an hour glass on its abdomen. Black widow spider bites often lead to severe cases but are only occasionally deadly. The bite will feel like a mere pinprick and you will not be able to feel the bite. The bite will only be identified once the signs and symptoms such as light red marks and swelling appear. After a few hours, you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Faint red marks
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Brown recluse spider

The spider may have a violin shaped marking on its back which is sometimes inconsistent. Effects of a bite will start with a mild stinging sensation after which, redness and severe pain will occur. The remaining symptoms are as follows:

  • Fluid filled blister forms that eventually leave a deep and expanding ulcer
  • Mild fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Usually in children, death may also result

Treatment

  1. Try to identify the type of spider that bit you. If you the spider is nearby, remember its markings, color, pattern, size etc.
  2. Clean the affected region thoroughly with soap and water.
  3. Apply a cool compress on the affected region.
  4. If practical, elevate the region to encourage blood flow.
  5. For adults, over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and acetaminophen can be used to relieve pain. Antihistamines can also be used to alleviate symptoms of the spider bite. Do NOT give aspirin to children and teenagers suffering from flu-like symptoms, chicken pox or viral infections. Consult your doctor for further guidance.

In case of a black widow spider or brown recluse bite, follow these steps:

  1. Use soap and water to thoroughly cleanse the affected region.
  2. Try to stop or slow down the venom from radiating to other regions of your body. If the spider has bitten any one of your limbs, tie a bandage above the affected region and elevate it to slow down movement of the venom. Make sure that you do not tie the bandage too tight as it may interfere with your natural blood circulation.
  3. Apply a cold cloth (cloth soaked in cold water) on the affected region.
  4. Seek emergency medical treatment to receive anti-venom medication.

Doctors suggest getting tetanus shots every 10 years to make you less susceptible to infections. If you have received a tetanus shot within the last 5 years, get a booster shot in case, you have been bitten by a spider or any other insect that may lead to serious infection.

Learn More About Poisonings

To learn more about poisonings and other types of bites, including spider bites, enrol into St Mark James training programs. We are partnered with the leading providers in the Country. Training partners are located in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and many more.

Related Video on Spider Bites

An automated external defibrillator is a device that is used to check the rhythm of the heart. The device is used to restore the rhythm back to normal as well, if required in an emergency situation. While training for CPR, you must have heard about AED which is used to restore the heart that is not beating in order to start a pulse. Let’s look at it in more detail so that you can understand the function of AED more clearly.

What does an AED do?

When an AED is used within the first 5 minutes of a cardiac arrest, it can drastically increase the victim’s chances of survival from 5% to 70% or higher. The electric shock generated by the AED restores the normal rhythm of the heart in a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) situation.

An AED can automatically check if the heart is beating and initiate a shock if it detects no pulse. That is, if the person is in Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) or Ventricular Tachycardia (VT), the device attempts to generate a shock to the patient’s heart in order to restore the normal rhythm. Therefore, it will not work with patients whose hearts are beating normally.

Heart Rythms for Ventricular Fibrillation

Heart Rythms for Ventricular Fibrillation. AED’s can effectively return the heart to regular cardiac rhythms.

How does an AED work

During VF, the heart still receives nerve impulses from the brain. It is not dead or at a halt, it is just not beating normally. The nerve impulses sent by the brain are haphazardly or erratically transferred to the heart in bursts; therefore the heart is not able to produce a normal beat. As a result, it is not able to supply the vital organs of the body with blood and hence, sufficient oxygen to perform their various functions. If the brain cells are starved of oxygen for more than 6 minutes, they will start to die.

Therefore, the heart will continue with its uncoordinated tremors until the brain is no longer able to send impulses when it eventually dies. The whole system stops together and the victim dies in the process. This can be, however, reversed, if prompt action is taken and an AED is brought into the situation. The AED stops the heart from twitching by simply shocking it. The heart stops momentarily and while it has stopped, the sinoatrial node, which is a small piece of tissue responsible for the normal transfer of impulses across the heart, generates a heartbeat. The heart functions properly when electrical impulses are sent from the top of the heart to the bottom of the heart. Once this system is restored, the heart starts to beat normally.

Therefore, the only treatment to reverse Ventricular Fibrillation is defibrillation which can only be achieved using an Automated Electrical Defibrillator.

Pay attention

It is important that you realize that an AED is not fail-safe. Remember that an AED will only work when a person is going through a Sudden Cardiac Arrest or is suffering due to the heart not beating in the correct rhythm, the heart beating too fast or too slow. If this is not the case, then the AED will not work and will not save the person’s life. An AED can increase a person’s chance of survival during an emergency situation if prompted to treatment; however, it cannot guarantee the person’s life. Make sure you pay attention during your CPR classes and listen to the instructions carefully that are coming from the device. An AED can only save a victim’s life if used in the correct manner.

Automated External Defibrillator Video