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7 Things You Should Know About Rapid Defibrillation

When it comes to defibrillation, acting quickly is just as important as having the right technique. You see, whether or not you perform the defibrillation (when necessary) determines whether the oxygen is reaching the brain or not. Keeping the brain deprived of oxygen can cause damage even when the medical team manages to save a patient’s life, which makes rapid defibrillation of key significance.

Rapid defibrillation is the defibrillation that happens in less than three minutes after the sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This is where you have the greatest chance to actually save the person in question and prevent any long-term consequences. With that in mind and without further ado, here are the top seven things you should know about rapid defibrillation.

1. Time is of the essence

If successful within 3-5 minutes, defibrillation can save a life in 50%-70% of scenarios, which means that it has an incredible success rate. Not only that but every minute that passes reduces the survival rate by 10%. In other words, the longer you wait, the lower the odds that the person will make it.

Unfortunately, it’s not just about saving the life or letting the person slip. If you wait long enough, even if the medical team eventually does save them, chances are that they will have long-term brain damage that could have been avoided if you acted in time.

2. Minutes without oxygen

Previously, we’ve talked about long-term damage leading to oxygen deprivation. Perhaps knowing the exact minutage of what you’re allowing to happen while you hesitate will help you spring into action with more vigor and determination.

You see, brain damage may begin even 1-2 minutes without oxygen. After 5 minutes, there’s the death of brain cells and severe brain damage. Lastly, if you wait for 10 minutes, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll manage to bring them back (in any capacity). In other words, while you may think you have 3 minutes to act, starting seconds after the SCA is far better than doing so in minutes.

3. No one else will step in

Whenever you see a person falling down and grasping their chest, there are a lot of things that go through your mind. First, around 53% of bystanders fear that they will hurt the cardiac arrest victim more than they will help, which makes them hesitant to approach. They are convinced that there’s someone else in the crowd who will do a better job and that by approaching the victim, they will actually dissuade this person from showing their expertise.

Fortunately, this is something that you can easily avoid by earning yourself a first aid certification that involves CPR. This way, you know you’re qualified and completely eliminate this fear as a factor. Remember, it’s not either you or someone else. Most likely, it’s either you or no one. So, be quick and better know what you’re doing.

4. AED defibrillation is as safe as it gets

The very concept of hitting one’s chest with electricity (during the process of defibrillation) sounds terrifying to a lot of people. That is one of the reasons why so many people are afraid they could hurt the SCA victim in the process. However, when properly used AED can analyze whether the defibrillation is needed and then be administered safely. In this scenario, the shock cannot really hurt the person in question.

Most importantly, defibrillation with AED can be used even during wet or rainy conditions. The only precondition is that you dry up their chest before applying the pads. Even if the person in question has a pacemaker, you can still perform defibrillation without hurting them. Just keep pads more than 1 inch away from the pacemaker and you’ll do fine.

5. It’s not restarting the heart

A lot of people have a misconception about what defibrillation actually does. In their minds, it restarts the heart that is currently not beating. In reality, it is trying to help the heart that is slow and ineffective to reestablish its natural rhythm.

The reason why it’s so important for you to understand this is not to get dissuaded from performing defibrillation when you feel the heartbeat. It is still necessary and it can still save one’s life. So, whenever you recognize the symptoms of cardiac arrest, performing rapid defibrillation is not only smart but actually the only sensible choice.

6. What are the symptoms to act upon?

When it comes to the symptoms that you should act upon, there are several things you need to bear in mind. If the person stops breathing, loses consciousness and does not respond, and does not take a breath when you tilt their head up, you need to call 911 right away and get yourself an AED.

AEDs are available in numerous institutions but just owning it doesn’t mean knowing how to use them. While the device itself is not complex, not knowing how to use it will cause problems with one’s self-esteem, which also makes them hesitant. As we’ve mentioned so many times before – it’s the hesitation that allows the problem to escalate.

7. CPR is not enough

Contrary to popular belief, CPR cannot restore the natural rhythm of the heart. That is why you need a defibrillator. Now, that doesn’t mean that CPR is ineffective, unnecessary, or useless. It is a simple means of resuscitation that provides some blood flow to the brain and heart, which means that it buys you time. We cannot stress out just how important this is.

Still, when you have the option, it’s better to have the defibrillator at hand and know how to use it. So, should you get a CPR course or get certified for the use of a defibrillator? Ideally, you would get both. The courses are inexpensive, they don’t last long, and the knowledge and the certificate will last you a lifetime.

Conclusion

Hesitation kills and knowing how to use a defibrillator is much better than just being able to perform CPR. Overall, you never know when you’ll need these skills but since obtaining them is not that hard, there’s literally no reason not to do so. It really is that simple.

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