Dr Oz: How To Use An AED To Save A Life During Cardiac Arrest


Dr Oz: Help Someone During Cardiac Arrest

Dr Oz introduced a woman named Karen, whose 11-year-old daughter Janet suffered sudden cardiac arrest while at cheerleading practice one afternoon. Janet was seemingly healthy, but when she went out for a slow jog, she never came back. She collapsed on the field with a sudden cardiac arrest and one of her coaches immediately began CPR, but there was no AED.

Dr Oz: How To Use An AED To Save A Life During Cardiac Arrest

Dr Oz explained the easy steps necessary to save a life with an AED during sudden cardiac arrest. (lydiashiningbrightly / flickr)


Janet underwent 45 minutes of CPR before dying at the hospital, less than an hour after collapsing. Karen explained that EMS arrived on the scene about 22 minutes after Janet collapsed and from there, she was transported to the hospital. Paramedics met them about 20 minutes after that and took over. It took about 45 minutes for Janet to finally reach the hospital, and the paramedics were able to revive her. But she went into cardiac arrest again and couldn’t be saved.

Dr Oz: Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Dr Oz said he wanted to explore what could have been done differently, because what happened to Janet is not all that uncommon. He explained that an AED device is in hallways all over the country and can check the heart’s rhythm and send an electrical shock to restart it.

Karen said the pediatric trauma nurse, who was Janet’s coach, knew that her heart had stopped beating and had started CPR. She said it wasn’t until after everything had happened that she realized an AED is the critical part of survival for someone in cardiac arrest. She and her husband believe that if they had an AED with them, their daughter could very well still be alive.


Dr Oz: Be Prepared During Cardiac Emergency

Dr Oz then shared that 70% of Americans feel helpless to act when someone is having a cardiac emergency. He conducted a social experiment to find out: if the chance to save someone in cardiac arrest comes up, would you be prepared?

They wanted to try their experiment on the Dr Oz audience to see if they could pass the life and death test. They installed an AED on a fake wall in the audience holding area, and rigged cameras. They hired an experienced actor to reenact sudden cardiac arrest. They also brought in an expert from the American Red Cross to play the role of a helpful bystander.

Dr Oz: Cardiac Arrest Social Experiment

When the man collapsed, most of the people in the audience were terrified and sat completely still, watching the scene. The American Red Cross expert started calling out, “Someone get me an AED” but a bunch of people started looking around confused saying, “What’s an AED?”

Thankfully, one woman named Shannon grabbed the AED, and it turns out she was trained on how to work an AED for her job. Shannon knew what to do, while 99% of the audience did not.

They ran the experiment with a new audience, and again, most people were completely frozen, except for one nurse who actually trains people in CPR and AEDs. In another run of the experiment, a woman grabbed the AED, although she had no idea how to use it.

Dr Oz: How An AED Works

Dr Oz explained that 80% of the time, we drop dead in front of the people who love us most. We can save thousands of lives if we know what to do. Lipica Shah, the expert from the American Red Cross, explained that maybe the AED could be intimidating for people. She said an AED will analyze a person’s heart rhythm and if it finds something wrong, it will prompt you to deliver an electrical shock to the heart.

The electrical shock interrupts the heart rhythm and allows it to set itself back to normal. Dr Oz said minutes are critically important, so there are three things you need to do as soon as you see someone collapse in cardiac arrest.

Dr Oz: How To Use An AED

First, call 9-1-1. Second, if the person is unconscious and not breathing, begin CPR. Third, as soon as it becomes available, use the AED.

Lipica explained that once you turn on the AED, it tells you what to do. Start by turning it on, and once you do that, follow the instructions that are told to you, which begin with baring the chest and wiping it down to make sure it’s dry. There are pictures on the pads that tell you where on the chest to apply the pads. If you’re applying the pads to a child, one goes on their chest in the middle, and one goes on their back.

Next, plug in the connector and you’re ready to go. Stand clear while the AED analyzes and then press the orange button if necessary.

Dr Oz: Training For AED Use & CPR

Lipica explained that there are classes offered all over the country through the Red Cross. Find a class near you because the more trained you are, the more confident you are. Remember, you can save lives!


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