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Automated External Defibrillators

Core CPD

First Uploaded: 30/11/2011
Last Revision: 08/10/2013
Expiry Date: 30/11/2013
Relevant for: Dentist, Hygienist, Therapist, Dental Nurse, Technician

This article contains guidelines for the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by laypeople, first responders and healthcare professionals responding with an AED outside hospital. These guidelines are appropriate for all types of AED, including those that are fully automatic. 

In the UK approximately 30,000 people sustain cardiac arrest outside hospital and are treated by emergency medical services (EMS) each year. Electrical defibrillation is well established as the only effective therapy for cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT). The scientific evidence to support early defibrillation is overwhelming; the delay from collapse to delivery of the first shock is the single most important determinant of survival. If defibrillation is delivered promptly, survival rates as high as 75% have been reported. The chances of successful defibrillation decline at a rate of about 10% with each minute of delay; basic life support will help to maintain a shockable rhythm but is not a definitive treatment. The Resuscitation Council (UK) recommends strongly a policy of attempting defibrillation with the minimum of delay in victims of VF/VT cardiac arrest.

This article contains guidelines for the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by laypeople, first responders and healthcare professionals responding with an AED outside hospital. These guidelines are appropriate for all types of AED, including those that are fully automatic.

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  • After working through this article you should be able to:
  • understand when to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
  • discuss the sequence of actions when using an AED
  • recognize appropriate situations for usage of an AED.
  • keep up-to-date in the subject areas, alter their clinical and management practices where applicable and achieve verifiable CPD
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