AEDs: 5 Important Patient Factors to Consider

There are five situations that require special care when using an AED (automated external defibrillator) to treat a victim of cardia arrest:

Children and Infant patients: Use pediatric pads and change the setting on the AED to the child setting. If pediatric pads are not available, you can use adult pads, but they are placed differently than on an adult.  One pad in the center of the child’s chest and the other in the center of the child’s back.

Wet or sweaty patients. If the patient is immersed, remove the patient from the water and take the patient to a dry area. Dry off the area where you will place the pads. Do not waste time drying off the patient’s entire body.

Patients with excessive hairy chest. Shave the chest (keep a razor with your AED). If you don’t have a razor and the device continues to prompt you with “check pads,” push down hard on the pads until you hear the prompt “stand clear.”  If the AED still won’t give you the stand clear prompt, strip off the pads quickly to try and remove some hair (do this ONLY if you have an extra set of pads).

Patients with a medication patch. Put on gloves, remove the patch and wipe any sticky residue off the patient.

Patients with a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator. Most of the time the implant will not be located where pads are placed. But if so, place the pads a few inches lower so the pads do not cover the implanted device (you should see a scar with a hard lump on either side of the chest). You can also try placing one pad on the chest and the other on the back. Do not worry about damaging the device as it is almost certain it stopped working.

Sometimes you will run into one of these special considerations so it’s a good idea to keep pediatric pads, a razor, and gloves with your AED just in case. If you do not recall what to do, the 911 operator will walk you through it over the phone. Remember, the AED will prompt you with vocal and/or visual instructions on how to use it. The instructions are simple but again, the 911 operator is there to assist.

For more information on AEDs, go to our website at AED Market or call 1-800-441-8378.

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