Monday, August 08, 2011
Public Access Defibrillators
The building I have an office in is having a Automated external defibrillator installed. So I went along to the training course. The IEEE-CS article "Idiot-proofing the Defibrillator" describes how these devices have been automated so that they issue verbal and text instructions to the user and administers electrical shocks. The AED is used when a person's heart suddenly stops (and they are usually unconscious). The model demonstrated by Paul Jones from Australian Defibrillators was the Zoll AED Plus. Another model is the Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator (AED). There would appear to be scope for more automation with the AEDs. One would be to add a screen with animations (presumably as LCD screens become cheaper due to smart phones, this will be possible). Another would be to have a mobile phone and GPS built into the device to call the emergency services.
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The new AEDs work with a microprocessor inside the defibrillator. The microprocessor analyzes the victim's heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes. It then audibly advises the operator whether a shock is needed. AEDs will advise a shock only for ventricular fibrillation and fast ventricular tachycardia. The electric current is delivered through the victim's chest wall through adhesive electrode pads. The system is safe, so that a shock will not be delivered to someone whose heart rhythm does not need defibrillation.
Defibrillator training course
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