Defibrillation and the use of AEDs (Automated External Defibrillator) suffer from common misconception and incorrect information. There are many strange myths and old wives’ tales that have managed to find their way into society and are causing confusion over the use of AEDs. However, with a product that literally saves lives, something has to be done. We want to put people's minds at rest and expel the falsities once and for all. Hopefully this will help ensure that users and potential users are confident in the modern day defibrillator.
As members of the general public rarely get any exposure to AEDs, it is easy to see how there is a degree of uncertainty. Unfortunately, most people's first encounter with an AED will be during an emergency situation. Witnessing a friend, co-worker or even just a stranger in this situation causes a lot of stress and panic. This can cause the mind to wander and this is when the myths cause confusion and unfortunately could even prevent the individual from helping.
We have searched many medical and first aid forums and spoke to individuals to try and find the most common questions, concerns and uncertainties about AEDs. We can now dispel these myths and increase people's confidence in this amazing life saving tool.
AEDs are very difficult to use
This is a very common misconception, and is simply the age-old problem of judging a book by its cover. People who have never used an AED before could assume as it is such a high-tech piece of equipment that it will be very complicated and too hard for them to use.
However, the truth is, they really couldn't be easier to use. They have come a long way and are now simpler than ever. The latest models actually speak directly to you and use imagery to take you step by step through the entire procedure. Showing the user exactly how to save someone's life. The latest models have even been successfully trialled by untrained 9-10 year old children.
You need medical training to use an AED
Wrong again, they have been specially designed to be used by the general public. So that even a passerby can pick one up and help to save a life. As we have already covered, they are simple to use, with vocal instructions that talk you through the whole process.
Obviously it does improve a victim’s chances of survival if you are qualified in CPR, but the AED itself needs no training. Some AED models can even talk you through CPR techniques.
I am fully trained in CPR, so I don't need an AED
CPR is very important, but unfortunately in some situations CPR on its own is simply not enough. Statistics show that after a sudden cardiac arrest an individual's chances of survival drop by 10% each minute that the heart isn't beating.
Using an AED alongside CPR and the survival chances can be increased by up to 75%. Very few people have survived after 12 minutes with no defibrillation.
You can only use an AED once
This is a very common misconception, in fact, standard AEDs administer many shocks over its batteries lifetime. Even then, this is not a problem, as the battery can then be replaced.
However, you must change the pads as per the AED's instructions, to ensure when it comes to using them they are adhesive enough to stick to the victim’s chest.
Defibrillators are far too expensive
This is a puzzling statement to say the least, as, how much do you value a human life? An AED can be picked up easily for under £1,000. One of these can then be used to save multiple lives, surely this cannot be considered expensive?
When it comes to workplaces, shops, restaurants, theatres, cinemas or any other publicly used venues money should not be considered by these establishments. An AED becomes a must have item.
An ambulance will most likely arrive before I need to use one anyway
Unfortunately, though everyone would like this to be the case, it is not. As our emergency services become more and more exhausted, it is unlikely that help will arrive to you in under 8 minutes - and in this situation, every second counts.
You also need to take into consideration where you're situated; Are you close to a hospital? Will they have to travel a long way to get to you? Is there heavy traffic? All of these things may make your wait for help that little bit longer, so you have to be prepared.
I could accidentally shock someone who doesn't need it
It is only natural to be a little concerned over such a powerful item, however as we have already covered, the modern AEDs are so sophisticated they would not allow this to happen.
This is down to the computer within the AED itself, using the electrodes which are attached to the victim’s chest it analyses whether a shock is necessary. The AED will not shock unless it establishes cardiac rhythm in need of shock, and this is impossible to replicate.
You have to have your AED yearly serviced
This is definitely NOT true, most modern AEDs actually self test themselves on a weekly or monthly basis, which makes the need for servicing completely redundant.
In most cases when you purchase a defibrillator it comes with an extensive warranty. So it is good to make your own regular checks on the unit, to make sure it is always ready to use should it be needed.
You can't simply buy your own defibrillator
This again, as with all the other myths, simply isn't true. You can buy an AED from many distributor channels. If you are interested you can buy directly from us, click here to see our range of defibs.
We hope you can discuss this with your friends or even share the blog directly. We want to make sure as many people as possible know the truth about AEDs. Then if the time calls for it, they would be confident in using one.