KSC Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator
AEDs strengthen the chain of survival. AEDs detect ‘shock able’ heart rhythms, typically ventricular fibrillation, associated with sudden cardiac arrests. By delivering a controlled electrical shock, defibrillation, the AED can sometimes restore a normal heart rhythm in sudden cardiac arrest victims. New portable AED models allow more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. When a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, for each minute that passes without defibrillation, their chance of survival decreases by 7-10 percent. AEDs save lives!
The AED analyzes the victim’s heart rhythm and will only advise and permit a defibrillating shock if the AED detects the appropriate ‘shockable’ abnormal heart rhythm. It would be very difficult to harm a patient even in such circumstances.
The steps for applying the AED pads, using the AED unit and delivering a defibrillating shock to a patient in cardiac arrest are simple and straightforward. Every AED is equiped with voice prompts and will “talk” the user through the steps; with the visual cues, AEDs are easy to use.
Perform CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), only until the AED arrives. Once the AED arrives apply the electrodes to the patient’s bare chest and follow the voice prompts and messages of the AED. The AED will tell you when to resume CPR. (CPR buys the victim time until AED defibrillation is provided).
CPR provides some circulation of oxygen rich blood to the victim’s heart and brain. This circulation delays both brain death and the death of heart muscle. CPR buys some time until the AED can arrive and can make the heart more likely to respond to defibrillation.
No. The pads remain on throughout the resuscitation and until the patient is transferred to advanced care provides such as paramedics.
The chest should be exposed to allow placement of the disposable defibrillation electrodes. A woman’s bra should be removed. Clothes may need to be cut off to facilitate early defibrillation.
Yes, even after a patient has been successfully defibrillated, he/she is at risk of developing ventricular fibrillation again. The AED will continually monitor the patient for the return of VF. If VF is suspected, the device will automatically begin to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm after 2 minutes of CPR has been completed. The AED should be left on until emergency personnel assume responsibility for the patient. The defibrillation pads (electrodes) are disposable.
Give rescue breaths at a rate of 1 every 5-6 seconds or 10-12 per minute.
Unfortunately, because of other underlying medical or heart problems, not all victims of cardiac arrest who are in ventricular fibrillation (VF) will survive even if defibrillation is done properly and correctly.
A cardiac arrest is a high stress situation. Even experienced health care providers do not do everything perfectly. In a cardiac arrest, performing CPR, even imperfectly and using a defibrillator can only help the patient.
Successful defibrillation requires electricity to flow from one electrode to the other through the chest. If the electrodes are not firmly adhered to the chest because of sweat, water or other conductive material between the electrodes, the electricity will be more likely to flow across the chest rather than through it. This will result in ineffective defibrillation and an increased chance of sparks and fire. (A main reason for removing oxygen from the vicinity of the victim.)
Electrodes must come in direct contact with the skin. If the chest hair is so excessive as to prevent good adhesion of the electrode, the hair must be removed quickly. Most AEDs come equipped with a safety razor for shaving the areas where the electrodes must be placed.
Remember this rule: only put the unit on someone you would do CPR on – unresponsive not breathing and no pulse. If the patient is unresponsive, shows no signs of life and an AED is available, then put it on the victim and do what it says.
Yes, never withhold AED use in a person in cardiac arrest (unresponsive, not breathing, no pulse.)
es, as long as the usual safety rules are observed. Be sure the victim’s chest is wiped dry. Keep the defibrillation electrodes away from a damp or conductive surface. Clear the victim and defibrillate as usual. Most AEDs come equipped with a towel; however, use whatever is available, e.g., the victim’s shirt.
Yes, as long as the usual safety rules are observed. Keep the defibrillation electrodes away from contact with the conductive surface. Clear the victim and defibrillate as usual. Be sure not to allow anyone to touch the victim when the shock is delivered.
Most states, including Florida, have passed “Good Samaritan” legislation protecting the lay rescuer from lawsuits.
AEDs are extremely safe when used properly. The electric shock is programmed to go from one pad to another through the victim’s chest. Basic precautions, such a verbally warning others to stand clear and visually checking the area before and during the shock, will virtually ensure the safety of rescuers.
Never place AED electrode pads directly on top of medication patches, such as nitroglycerin, or ECG patches. Patches should always be removed and the skin wiped dry before placing defibrillator pads on the skin. Do not touch a medicated “dermal” patch with your bare hands. Most AEDs come equipped with gloves (you could have an allergic reaction to the medicated patch, which was specifically prescribed to the victim).
When used on persons who are unresponsive, not breathing, and have no detectable pulse, the AED is extremely safe. The AED makes shock delivery decisions based upon the patient’s heart rhythm, and will not allow a shock to be delivered if not needed. The machine will not let you shock a non-shockable rhythm. If the patient meets the criteria, i.e., unresponsive, not breathing with no pulse, they [probably] need to be defibrillated.
The facility manager or the AED Point of Contact where the AED resides is responsible for providing replacement batteries. Call the KSC Duty Office at 861-5050.
Materials and supplies are the responsibility of the facility manager or the AED unit Point of Contact. Or Call the Duty Office at 861-5050.
Maintenance of each AED is the responsibility of the AED unit Point of Contact. If an AED unit Point of Contact is not available, the facility manager is responsible.
Yes. AED/CPR training is strongly recommended for everyone although some employees may need to seek training from community providers such as from the American Heart Assocation (AHA) or the American Red Cross (ARC).
An AED is considered used when the pads applied to the victim’s chest and the machine is turned on. The AED unit must be brought to the Occupational Health Facility (OHF), Bldg M6-0495 for download of the AED data. Do Not remove the battery as this re-sets the internal clock.
The AED is checked weekly and the results are recorded on the “aed check Tag” available from NASA/KSC Medical (anticipating a KSC Form):
AED units which have been used and either defibrillating shocks were advised and/or delivered must be cleared by the OHF Medical Director prior to re-use. Upon re-use, you must perform a battery self test, ensure that new pads are available, check your supplies and replace or discard any expired items.