7 Conditions to be Aware of When Using AED Devices on SCA Patients

Charlotte Miller

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Obviously, an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is rescue equipment used to save the lives of patients with sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Automatically analyzing the patient’s heart rhythm and conducting an AED shock through AED pads when necessary to restore the patient’s heart rhythm is what an AED device does. Mastering the correct method of using AED equipment can be fearless in case that we happen to meet an SCA patient who collapses. 

Though AED devices nowadays are designed to be simple and portable enough to put in the AED box mounted on the wall, making it easily accessible for the public, there is still plenty of precautions we have to pay attention to. 

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7 Conditions to Pay Attention to When Using an AED Devices

Even though an AED device is powerful enough to save someone’s life, you cannot use it in all situations. Take a look at the following different situations when you should be aware of when using an AED machine on SCA patients. 

  1. AED pads have been used.

AED pads are disposable, and if you get AED pads that have been used, you should not continue to use them to conduct an AED shock to the SCA patient but contact people in charge to replace. Used AED pads may not stick firmly to the target places, and if you happen to have the misfortune of getting a used AED pad that is damaged, the impact is not only a bad shock effect but also the risk of leakage. Therefore, make sure that the AED pads are brand new when using AED equipment.

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  1. AED pads and batteries are expired.

Any equipment and accessories have a shelf life, and AED devices are no exception. Current conventional AED replacement pads and batteries on the market are valid for 2-3 years. Some AED brands’ accessories have a shelf life of up to 5 years, such as the Mindray AED. For the purpose of improving the chances of successful defibrillation, it is wise of you first to check the expiration date of the accessories when obtaining an AED device, and if they have expired, you should consider replacement.

  1. The victim is suffering from a heart attack.

Heart attack and cardiac arrest are often mistaken for one another, but they are not the same cardiovascular events. A heart attack happens if blood flow to the heart is blocked. On the other hand, cardiac arrest happens when the heart does not function properly with an irregular heart rhythm. [1]

You should never use AED equipment on a person who is experiencing a heart attack because the AED machine will not save the patients. Restoring normal heart rhythm for patients with SCA is the fundamental role an AED machine plays, but a heart attack is not a rhythm-related problem.

  1. The victim is wet or lying in the water.

You do not have to be an expert to know water and electricity do not go together. You should never, under any circumstances, use an AED machine on a person who is wet or lying on the wet surface. Electricity will take a path of least resistance. Therefore, if a person’s chest is wet, the shock will travel through water, not the heart muscle. Instead, you need to move the patient away from the liquid and make sure their chest is dry before using the AED device.

  1. The victim is breathing.

If the patient is breathing, you know they have a pulse. For that reason, it is not necessary to use an AED device on this person. Applying an AED shock on a person who is breathing, i.e., conscious, is not needed and could be dangerous. 

  1. The victim has a medication patch.

You should not deny an AED device from someone just because he has a medication patch or something that are inconvenient to defibrillate, of course. You should not place an AED machine over a medication patch, though. What you need to do is to quickly remove the patch, wipe the area, and then proceed to apply AED pads as close as the target area.  

  1. The victim has a DNAR order.

The Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) order clearly states that the resuscitation intervention to be performed in the event of a life-threatening emergency. It is issued by a licensed doctor or an alternative agency, and must be signed and dated before it takes effect. DNAR order shall be shown to EMS responders immediately as soon as they arrive the scene. If EMS professionals fails to obtain clear information about the victim’s wishes, CPR and defibrillation by AED equipment should start without any hesitation. 

If relatives or other medical personnel arrive and confirm that the victim has made it clear that do not attempt resuscitation, CPR or other life support measures (defibrillation) can be stopped by following local instructions or protocols.[2]


If used properly, the AED device can save patients with sudden cardiac arrest to the greatest extent. Despite the above situation, we still should try our best to overcome all difficulties and save their lives as life is precious. For patients with SCA, their survival relies on AED equipment at the most, which requires the AED equipment to be of high quality and safe enough. A high-quality AED machine with advanced defibrillation techniques is definitely what medical institutions and organizations pursue.

In terms of quality, it has to mention that Mindray AED emerges among other AED brands. As mentioned earlier, the 5-year shelf life of AED replacements pads and batteries leads Mindray to a leading position and brings a great reputation in the industry. Compared with other AED companies, Mindray has an overwhelming advantage in the subsequent maintenance cost of AED equipment and the replacement cost of accessories. In addition, its AED device has passed the test of 1.5m drop, reached dust and waterproof grade of IP55, and achieved CE certification, making it available to deal with all kinds of harsh environments freely. 

In terms of defibrillation technology, Mindray AED relying on QshockTM technology completes the first shock in less than 8 seconds to increase the probability of successful defibrillation. This is a positive response to the 3-5 minutes of golden rescue time for SCA patients. It is also the most user-friendly of all AED brands for that three languages are available to switch to meet local needs. Anyway, if you are considering investing in an AED machine, Mindray AED is a good choice.


[1] Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Differences. American Heart Association. Available athttps://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/about-heart-attacks/heart-attack-or-sudden-cardiac-arrest-how-are-they-different (Accessed: 12 October 2021)

[2] Part 3: Ethics. 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. AHA Journal, Volume 122, Issue 18_suppl_3, November 2010, Pages 665-675. (Accessed: 12 October 2021)