Category Archives: Cardiac Arrest

Top 10 Questions About AEDs

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About AEDs

1. What is an AED?

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator.

2. What Does an AED Do?

An AED is a portable device that delivers a life-saving shock to a heart that is experiencing fibrillation. An AED automatically analyzes and measure an unresponsive person’s heart rhythm. If the heart is experiencing fibrillation and a shock is deemed necessary, an AED will deliver a shock to restart the heart or to restore the heart to the correct rhythm. The AED will first analyze the victim’s heart rhythm, and then audio or text prompts will tell the rescuer how to proceed. If defibrillation is necessary, the device will warn responders to stay clear of the victim while the shock is delivered. If CPR is indicated, the AED will instruct the rescuer to continue performing CPR.

For more information about how an AED works, check out our post, (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About CPR and AEDs.

3. What is Defibrillation?

Believe it or not, defibrillation was discovered at the University of Geneva in 1899 by physiologists Jean-Louis Prevost and Frédéric Batelli. Ventricular fibrillation is a condition that occurs when the heart beats rapidly and erratically. The History of Defibrillation, Defibrillators, and Portable AEDs is a must-read if you’re as fascinated by the subject as we are.

4. Do I Really Need an AED?

Six Shocking Statistics About Sudden Cardiac Arrest and AEDs answers this question pretty thoroughly, but 68.5% of the 456,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home. In other words, if you have an AED, the life you save will likely be that of a loved one.

5. Do I Need to Have Special Training to Use an AED?

Nope. While we encourage everyone to gain the confidence they need through CPR, First Aid, and AED certification courses, multilingual voice and text prompts ensure that everyone can become a lifesaver.

6. Can I Harm Someone By Using an AED?

An AED is designed to be used on someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest. It may be an individual’s best chance at survival. Thanks to built-in sensors and safety features, AEDs will not deliver unnecessary shocks.

7. Can I Use an AED on an Infant?

Yes, it’s safe to use an AED on infants and children. Although AEDs are manufactured with adults in mind, most AEDs come equipped with pediatric settings and/or pediatric pads that adjust the energy level used. These settings make them safe for use on young children who weigh less than 55 pounds. The American Heart Association recommends that pediatric attenuated pads should be used on children under the age of eight and on infants. Adult pads are used on children eight years and older. However, if pediatric pads and settings are not available, the American Red Cross suggests that an AED with adult pads should be used.

8. Can an AED be Used on a Pregnant Woman? 

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. If a pregnant woman goes into cardiac arrest, call 911 and tell the operator that the victim is pregnant. This will help alert EMS providers so they’re prepared upon arrival and can transport the woman to a hospital that can perform an emergency C-section, if necessary.

Next, start CPR with chest compressions as you would for an individual who is not pregnant. It is vitally important to keep blood and oxygen moving throughout the body. According to the American Heart Association, it is safe to use an AED if one is available.

9. Do AEDs Expire?

Although AEDs don’t expire, batteries and pads do. The importance of AED preventative maintenance and service cannot be overstated. We recommend AED owners invest in both preventative maintenance and compliance management programs to ensure their AEDs are fully operational and in compliance with local laws.

10. Where’s the Best Place to Keep My AED?

If you own an AED it needs to be publicly accessible and in plain sight. An AED can’t save a life if it can’t be found. For more information, read our AED placement guide: Finding the Best Location for Your AED

Ready to schedule CPR and AED training for your team? Or perhaps it’s time to invest in LifeShield AED Compliance Management to ensure that your AED is good to go. For AED solutions, visit AED.com or call Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. You can also email us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

DISCLAIMER: The information included in this post and on our website is not intended as legal advice. As legislation changes often, this post may inadvertently contain inaccurate or incomplete information. We urge you to contact your state representative should you require more information about current AED, CPR, and Good Samaritan laws in your state.

DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the cardiopartners.com and aed.com websites/blogs are intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

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Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and a Stroke

Infographic: American Heart Association

Is it a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or a Stroke?

They’re all serious conditions that require immediate medical attention but many people don’t fully understand the differences between these three common killers. Simply put, a heart attack is a circulatory problem, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an electrical malfunction in the heart, and a stroke is caused by a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel in the brain.  

In this article, we’ll help you understand what’s happening within the body during each of these medical emergencies.

Although the risk factors may be the same from person to person, understanding the differences between these conditions can be a matter of life and death.

What’s a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are, essentially, a circulation problem and they occur when blood flow to a person’s heart is severely reduced or blocked. Heart attacks can be relatively mild or very, very serious.

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry enough oxygen to the heart. The heart may continue to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die from lack of oxygen. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

You may be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring if you know what to look for and you listen to your body! Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before the heart attack itself. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

It’s well worth noting that women may experience symptoms of a heart attack differently from men. Even though heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, women often fail to identify their symptoms as warning signs of a heart attack (American Heart Association).

In addition to (or instead of) the symptoms listed above, women may experience pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness, fainting, flu-like symptoms or extreme fatigue.

What’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem and is caused when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, which prevents blood and oxygen from flowing to vital organs. Unlike a heart attack, SCA is always serious. Without the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm, death can occur within minutes.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack often telegraphs its arrival with clearly defined symptoms, SCA, however, can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. Symptoms are immediate and dire: sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the organs of the body are deprived of oxygen.

When the heart stops beating, death can occur within minutes.

SCA can be caused by any number of events, such as ventricular fibrillation, a sudden blow to the chest, electrocution, drowning, drug abuse, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, or hypothermia. Cardiac arrest can be reversible if it’s treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What’s a Stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone at any time and occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clogged or burst blood vessel. When blood flow to the brain is cut off, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are permanently lost (National Stroke Association).

Symptoms of Stroke

Using the acronym FAST, you just may be able to save someone’s life. If someone’s face begins to droop or they’re complaining of numbness, ask them to smile. If the person’s smile is lopsided, they may be having a stroke. If their arm is weak or numb, ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is their speech slurred or strange? If someone is showing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

What You Can Do to Assist Someone Who is Experiencing a Heart Attack, SCA, or Having a Stroke?

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack, SCA, or a stroke call 911 immediately. The operator may be able to help you administer compression-only CPR to the victim. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED.

You never know when your actions could help save a life.

To become better equipped to offer assistance, sign up for first aid, CPR, and AED training today! Cardio Partners offers CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

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Be Ready to Help in a Heartbeat

Student athletes spend hours training for competition — but how about training to save a life?

SCA on soccer field.

Studies show that 6,000 – 8,000 teens experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) annually.1 Every three days, a student athlete falls victim to sudden cardiac death.2

Student athletes are at heightened risk for SCA due to the additional strain placed on the heart during athletic conditioning and competition. Contributing factors include the influx of adrenaline, dehydration, fever, and changes in electrolytes.3

While SCA isn’t preventable, sudden cardiac death can be. All it takes is to educate students on the symptoms that can precede an SCA event and to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) readily available during athletic practices and competition.

SCA can strike without warning, but sometimes symptoms are presented. Student athletes often dismiss symptoms preceding an SCA event for fear of losing precious game time. That’s why it’s vitally important for athletes to fully understand the risks they face and feel confident speaking up to prevent sudden cardiac death.

Here are some of the warning signs:5

  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat – racing or fluttering
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Extreme fatigue

Nine out of ten victims who receive a shock from an AED within the first minute of SCA survive.4 Ensuring that your students and coaches are trained to respond to an SCA emergency could help save a life.

Download the ‘Help in a Heartbeat’ flyer to educate your team about the symptoms of SCA.

To learn more about the latest package from Cardiopartners to help your athletic teams respond to any emergency, visit: https://www.aed.com/zoll-aed-plus-athletic-director-s-package

1 “Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Teenage Athletes: What’s the Risk?”. Promise powered by Nemours Children’s Health System. https://blog.nemours.org/2017/02/sudden-cardiac-arrest-teenage-athletes-risk/

2 “Young Athletes & Sudden Cardiac Arrest”. Boston Scientific. http://www.your-heart-health.com/content/close-the-gap/en-US/heart-disease-facts/young-athletes.html

3 “Sports and Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA)”. Cardiosmart – American College of Cardiology. https://www.cardiosmart.org/Heart-Conditions/Sports-and-Sudden-Cardiac-Arrest

4Source: 2017, AHA Mediagenic Survey Results; 2017, AHA with Edelman Intelligence; 2017, AHA with BLR Media; Postgrad Medical Journal, October 2007.

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