Follow up after an AED is used

Here’s what you need to do after you use your AED:

  • Take a deep breath and allow your breathing to return to normal.
  • Alert your AED program coordinator.
  • Check your compliance management system.
  • Document everything about the event in which the AED was used.
  • Return the AED to a state of rescue-readiness.
  • Conduct a post-event analysis.

Take a few deep breaths

Now that the victim of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is well on his or her way to the local hospital, grab a seat and take a few big, deep breaths. You’ve done everything you can do. Once your breathing has returned to normal and the adrenaline has worked its way out of your system, it’s time to turn your attention to your AED. 

Alert your AED program coordinator

Anytime an AED is powered on — whether it has delivered a shock or not — it is considered to have been used and you should follow post-use protocols. The first thing you should do is alert your program coordinator.

Check your compliance management system

Now it’s time for the AED program coordinator to take over. If your organization has a compliance management system, such as LifeShield, your organization will have access to medical director oversight to help guide your team through rescue protocols.

Document everything about the SCA or the event in which the AED was used.

Take note of whether or not you witnessed the onset of the arrest. If you did, explain the circumstances that surrounded the SCA. Record how long the victim was unconscious before CPR began and the first shock was administered. Keep track of the number of shocks the AED delivered.

Your AED will also collect information digitally during a cardiac arrest so don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure about the defibrillation details. These recordings will show the patient’s heart rhythm at the moment when the shocks were delivered.

Return your AED to a state of rescue-readiness

Dispose of used electrodes and pads and replace them with a new set. Check the batteries to make sure they’re fully charged. Check the “use by” or “install by” dates on your replacement batteries to make sure they haven’t expired. If necessary, clean and disinfect your AED. 

Don’t forget to replenish your AED rescue kit with a fresh set of gloves, razors, and face masks. A good AED refit kit contains the equipment you’ll need to accomplish this.

Conduct a post-event analysis

It’s important to review the event to ensure that the rescue went as smoothly and quickly as possible. Changes to your protocols should be considered at this time.

Responding to an SCA is traumatic for everyone involved: the victim, witnesses, and rescuers may all experience psychological stress. Your leadership team should quickly offer counseling services and support to those involved in the event. This assistance should remain open well after the event occurred. Post-traumatic event support is especially important in cases where the rescue attempt was unsuccessful.

For an AED consultation or to more about AED best practices, our AED and defibrillator service and preventative maintenance programs, or LifeShield, our online compliance management program, contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362 or email us at [email protected].

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.