AEDs are designed to shock the heart, in order for the heart to restart under a normal rhythm. The AED analyzes the heart’s rhythm, states whether a shock is advised and then powers up, the operator then pushes a button that will deliver the shock.

Each minute that defibrillation is delayed the chance of survival is reduced by 10 percent. After 10 minutes few people are resuscitated.

Early defibrillation increases survival rates to greater than 50%.

Rescuers should begin chest compressions as soon as possible, and use the AED as soon as it is available and ready.

If you are giving CPR to a child or infant and the available AED does not have child pads or a way to deliver a smaller dose, it is still recommended to use the AED even with adult pads. With adult pads for a small child or infant, you would place one pad on the center of the chest and the other on the center of the back between the shoulder blades.

AED Considerations

  • Remove a patient from standing water, such as in a puddle, before AED use. Rain, snow, or a damp surface is not a concern.
  • Patient should be removed from a metal surface if possible.
  • Slightly adjust pad placement so as not to directly cover the area if the patient has an obvious bump or scar for a pacemaker.
  • Remove medication patches found on the patient’s chest with a gloved hand.
  • Never remove the pads from the patient or turn the machine off.

How to Use an AED

  1. Turn the AED on.
  2. Bare the chest. Dry it off if it is wet. If there is excessive hair you may need to shave it off.
  3. Place the pads. Place one pad on the patients upper right chest above the nipple. Place the other pad on the patients lower left ribs below the armpit. **Follow the directions shown on the pads for the AED pad placement.
  4. Quickly check the pads. Make sure pads are pressed down firmly.
  5. Follow AED prompts.
  6. Stand Clear. Do not touch the patient while the AED analyzes
  7. If the AED says, “Shock advised, charging…,” shout, “Clear” and make sure no one is touching the patient. Push the shock button when the AED tells you to.
  8. If no shock is advised give CPR if the patient is not moving and not breathing.
  9. After the Shock, begin CPR. As soon as the shock has been delivered, give 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths. Continue cycles of 30:2 until you see signs of life.
  10. The AED will reanalyze every 2 minutes and prompt for a shock if needed.

Child and Infant AED Pad Placement

For children 8 years old and younger and infants, an AED with pediatric pads is preferred. If only a standard AED with adult pads is available, it should still be used for children and infants in cardiac arrest. When placing the pads on a child, the pads should not touch.

For a small child or infant, the pads should be placed one in the center of the chest and one in the center of the back between the shoulder blades.