SPRINGIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A young and seemingly healthy NFL football player, collapsed from cardiac arrest during a game Monday night.
Bills player Damar Hamlin was down for 19 minutes while receiving medical attention requiring CPR and reportedly, an automated external defibrillator, also known as an “AED.”
“It’s a very small box with a package with pads on it,” Kim D’Angelo, Operational Manager at AMR told 22News. “It has pictures of pads and where to put them on the person’s chest and it’s just one button of where to shock.”
The medical device is used in addition to CPR and can analyze the heartbeat. And if necessary, deliver an electrical shock to help the heart go back into an effective rhythm.
AED’s can be found in most buildings like gyms, schools, and places of work, making them accessible for anyone to use. And while they all may look different, they’re always clearly marked, and will have an audio prompt to help you use it.
Experts say AED’s are most effective when used within minutes of a cardiac incident and for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the odds of survival are reduced by about 10%. First responders say having access to an AED and knowing how to use one, is critical.
“It is a scary moment but they are the link for survival, and their participation helping out the patient is the difference between life and death,” D’Angelo continued.
When using the AED on someone 8 years or older that weighs more than 55 pounds, experts recommend to follow these steps:
- Turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts
- Remove all clothing covering the chest
- Place one pad on the upper right side of the chest
- Place the other pad on the lower left side of the chest, a few inches below the left armpit
- Plug the pad connector cable into the AED
- If necessary prepare to let the AED analyze the heart’s rhythm
- Make sure no one is touching the person
- Deliver a shock, if the AED determines one is needed
- After the AED delivers the shock, or if no shock is advised, continue CPR
Experts add it’s important to react immediately if you see someone going into cardiac arrest and do not wait for emergency services to arrive.