The Different Types of AED Pads and How to Use Them

The Different Types of AED Pads and How to Use Them

Today we’ll be digging deep into the different types of AED pads and how to use them. An Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, saves thousands of lives each year due to its effective use. AED is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest that can happen anytime and anywhere, and it is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide.

Being that it’s a piece of vital equipment used during emergencies, it’s crucial to keep all the parts functional at all times. This is why routine maintenance and servicing of the device is very important, especially on the AED pads.

The pads are an essential part of the machine and are not reusable, so you should have new ones in sufficient amounts. It’s important to remember to store the pads correctly, as the AED device is unusable without them. Damaged pads won’t work properly, and the defibrillation may cause harm to the person in need.

The electric shock passes through the AED pads, causing the heart to activate and start functioning normally. They are also important because they assist the AED machine in monitoring the heart rhythm before assessing whether to make a shock delivery.

In this article, we’ll explain the different types of AED pads, how to choose the right ones and how to use them.

What Are AED Pads?

AED pads are an essential component of the Automated External Defibrillator. They are placed on the victim’s chest to deliver an electric shock and restore the normal heart rhythm during cardiac arrest. When placed at the right places, they monitor the heart rhythm and assess if the person in question requires an electric shock.

The pads are made of plastic, metal (titanium), and adhesive gel. The gel serves as a bonding agent between the pads and the patient helping the pads quickly and properly adhere to the skin. This connection to the skin is essential because the pads help create the connection between the AED and the body of the SCA victim.

Types Of AED Pads

To understand the different types of AED pads and how to use them, you’ll need to know the right AED pads to use. You will find two AED pads on the market – for adult use and for pediatric use. They both work the same way, but let’s also look at some differences between them.

The adult AED pads are for use on patients that are over the age of 8, while the pediatric pads are for use on patients under the age of 8. The main difference between these two types of pads is that the pediatric pads are smaller and have a lower energy setting than the adult pads because children’s hearts are much more delicate. If the shock delivery to children is at a high voltage, then it can cause damage to the heart muscle.

Moreover, it is important to consider the person’s weight while using the pads. The adult AED pads should be used on patients who weigh more than 55 pounds, while the pediatric pads are for those who weigh less than 55 pounds. This is important because for the AED machine to function properly, it needs to make good contact with the person’s chest to monitor the heart rhythm and perform the defibrillation. If the pads are too small or too big and the placement is not correct, the defibrillation will not be successful.

Why Do They Expire?

Learning the different types of AED pads and how to use them comes with understanding when they expire. Those who use AEDs know that the pads in the device have an expiration date and need replacing. The expiration date varies depending on the brand and model of the pads. The pads expire due to the short life of the gel placed on the electrodes that help them adhere to the chest. It means they won’t work correctly and provide the proper support and stability during the shock delivery.

The typical lifespan of AED pads is between 18 and 30 months but the length mainly depends on the purchased brand and the storage method. Keep the AED device and accompanying equipment in a dry place and out of the reach of children, but not hidden. AEDs must be mounted in a visible location and clearly marked.

How Are AED Pads Used

Once the AED is on, the device will give you instructions you should follow. Attach the electrodes to the person’s chest, ensuring the correct placement. The victim’s chest must be dry because the electric shock may travel over the skin rather than penetrating the chest and shocking the heart.

The pads will help the AED device assess and determine if there is an abnormal heart rate. If this is the case, it will proceed to perform the electric shock. The electric current will pass through between the victim and the pads during the shock to help realign and normalize the heart’s rhythm. This will enable the heart to restart pumping the blood.

AED is usually used in combination with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to give the victim the best chance of survival. Chest compressions are carried out to help the blood flow start circulation again through the body and deliver oxygen.

If the pads’ expiration date has passed, they will not stick to the victim’s skin and may pull away during the delivery of the CPR compressions. This will diminish the chances of providing an adequate analysis of the situation and offering the best therapy.

Proper Placement Of The Defibrillator Pads

Having an AED device means knowing where to place the defibrillator pads. Wrongfully pads mean the device won’t be able to provide the treatment and can cause harm to the person in need.

AED devices come with instructions that offer instructions on the accurate placement of the AED pads. Illustrations accompany the instructions to understand the arrangement better. The pads are placed on the patient’s chest, one on the left side of the chest under the armpit area and the other on the right side just below the collarbone. The pads’ placement will depend on whether the victim is a child or an adult.

Using the pads correctly is crucial to avoid wrong and possibly harmful treatment. Not placing the pads in the correct position means the shock won’t pass safely through the electrodes and the body, causing harm to the victim.

To appropriately execute the action, here are some things to lookout for before proceeding to place the pads:

      • See if the victim has any jewelry on them and proceed by removing it before you place the AED pads on them.

      • Don’t hesitate to place the pads over tattoos because they don’t play any key roles in the succession of the electric shock.

      • Place the electrodes directly on the skin. If the victim has chest hair, remove it with the razor usually provided in the AED kit. It’s essential because chest hair can make the shock less effective.

      • Don’t be alarmed if the person has any scars. Just like tattoos, scars don’t affect the quality of the shock delivery.

      • Victims with already existing heart conditions usually have pacemakers. These victims are also suitable to receive an electric shock.

    How To Choose The Right Pads

    The different types of AED pads and how to use them will require knowing what pads to use. When purchasing replacement AED electrodes, it is important to consider the brand and always check if the pads have an FDA  pre-market approval. You should also consider the pads’ quality and cost and see if they meet the requirements and budget. 

    Research and read reviews on the providers to ensure you are making the right purchase. Buying the right quality and FDA-approved AED pads means giving the proper treatment and helping to save a life.

    Final Thoughts: The Different Types of AED Pads and How to Use Them

    In today’s modern world, having an AED device is of significant value and a must-have, whether at home or your office, and its maintenance should be a top priority. An AED device is not a luxury but a necessity for everyone.

    An AED device is only useful with the proper high-quality pads. What good does it do if it’s sitting somewhere in a corner? Research the pads you need for delivering AED and saving a life. Always check the AED kit to make sure it is complete. This includes checking the validity of the expiration date, the state of the pads, and whether they are usable.

    In an emergency, the pads can mean the difference in saving a life.