We are asked on a regular basis, when is the right time to use a defibrillator on a patient?
If a person goes into cardiac arrest, then the heart stops functioning effectively, this causes the patient to loose blood pressure and have no blood circulation – Brain and heart damage occurs in a matter of minutes.
At this stage the patient will be unresponsive and not breathing effectively – best to check first though as we don’t want to start CPR if the patient is breathing.
DO NOT PUT A DEFIBRILLATOR ON FIRST
The patient needs CPR, this will circulate blood through the body and help to prevent tissue death in the heart and brain-“Time is Heart and Brain”- Scott Whimpey – Director FAAE.
Once CPR has been started, now is the time to apply the Defibrillator, making sure that CPR continues while the pads are applied to the patient. Much like a pool pump loosing function, we need to prime the pump first before we start it up.
Studies show that the more we stop CPR in the first 10 minutes, the more brain and heart damage occurs, we need to minimise interruptions to compressions in the initial stages of a resuscitation.