Shocktober in October – Defibrillator – First Aid
Last month’s post focused on the Cardiac Science G5 which can be found by following the link, this month is all about Shocktober and sudden cardiac arrest in children.
Unfortunately, in a similar way to adults, children can also suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest with little or no prior warning. So, at this point I would like you to think of the actions you would take to help a child.
I am assuming at this point you doubt yourself a little. Let us clear things up for you. The intervention on a child is the same as that on an adult with some very minor differences.
When an adult has become a victim of a sudden cardiac arrest every second counts, this is no different when a paediatric (Child) enters cardiac arrest. The heart at this point is not beating effectively. The treatment for a paediatric is very similar to that of an adult with some minor changes to make it safer for the child.
Starting with the AED – The electrode pads are placed slightly different. On an adult they are placed exactly as illustrated with the diagram on the electrode pads. AEDs are very clever and these days most will have a paediatric mode, normally the push of a button or flick of a switch can save vital seconds making the defibrillator child friendly. This is done by lowering the amount of energy (Joules) that is passed through the heart, making the shock more effective in the kick-starting process; placing the heart back in the correct rhythm. In some defibrillators you have to change the electrode pads. Once this is done the device automatically changes to a child friendly mode, however this takes time and increases the stress to the person performing the lifesaving intervention.
Electrode pad placement on a paediatric is also slightly different to that on an adult. This is due to the size of the chest. As a result, one pad needs to be placed in the centre of the chest (over the heart) and the other on the back of the paediatric (child).
These small changes are very important to consider when treating a child. In the instance that paediatric pads are not available and the defibrillator does not have a paediatric mode, standard pads can be used. In everyday life AEDs are bringing people back to everyday life, but unlike fire extinguishers and fire blankets they are not a legal requirement yet!
A staggering 270 children will die in school each year after suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest. Shocktober is the month that we can help it all change. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information on how you can get involved in free public access awareness courses and supporting your community.
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