- Article: Defibrillation 1: using an AED outside hospital. Nursing Times; 107: 38, early online publication.
- Author: Phil Jevon is resuscitation officer and clinical skills lead, Manor Hospital, Walsall.
- Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are caused by ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Electrical defibrillation is the only effective therapy for these.
- Prompt defibrillation can achieve survival rates as high as 75%. The chances of success decline by around 10% with each minute of delay.
- Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are sophisticated, computerised devices that deliver defibrillatory shocks to a person in cardiopulmonary arrest.
- Before starting defibrillation, the patient’s chest should be exposed to allow correct placement of AED pads, and the chest should be dried if it is clammy or wet.
- All healthcare staff should be trained, equipped, and encouraged to perform defibrillation. AEDs should be easily accessible and not locked away.
- What additional training do nurses need to carry our defibrillation?
You might like to consider:
- Does your current CPR training cover defibrillation and is this annual update adequate to ensure you are competent to carry it out?
- How can you identify ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia
- Outline the procedure and safety precautions for defibrilliation.