Where Should AED Pads be Placed?

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When it comes to saving lives during sudden cardiac emergencies, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) play a crucial role. These life-saving devices can be found in public spaces, workplaces, and even homes. However, knowing where to place the AED pads correctly is vital for their effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the importance of proper AED pad placement and provide a step-by-step guide to ensure you are well-prepared in case of an emergency.

Understanding AED Pads

AED pads are adhesive electrode pads that are placed on the chest of a victim to allow the AED to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver appropriate shocks if necessary. These pads are available in different shapes and sizes, catering to various age groups. It is essential to choose the right type of AED pads to ensure accurate readings and effective treatment.

Placement of AED Pads

To maximize the chances of successful defibrillation, proper placement of AED pads is crucial. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to place AED pads correctly:

  1. Prepare the Victim: Ensure the victim is lying on a flat surface. Remove any clothing covering the chest area to expose bare skin. If the victim is wet or sweaty, quickly wipe the chest dry to ensure good pad adhesion.

  2. Locate the Placement Points: Most AEDs come with visual or auditory prompts indicating the correct pad placement areas. Look for these markings and identify the upper right and lower left areas of the victim’s chest.

  3. Attach the Pads: Peel the AED pads from their packaging and firmly press them onto the designated spots on the victim’s chest. Ensure the pads are correctly aligned with the marking indicators.

  4. Secure the Pads: Once the AED pads are in place, ensure they are firmly attached to the chest. If the pads have loose connections, the AED might not be able to deliver effective shocks.

  5. Analyze the Heart Rhythm: Once the pads are securely attached, the AED will start analyzing the victim’s heart rhythm. Ensure that nobody is touching the victim during this process to avoid interference.

  6. Follow AED Prompts: The AED will guide you through the subsequent steps based on its analysis. It will either advise administering a shock or prompt you to continue CPR until further instructions.

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Remember, the correct placement of AED pads is crucial for accurate readings and effective treatment. Following these steps can significantly increase the chances of saving a life during a sudden cardiac emergency.

Factors Influencing AED Pad Placement

Several factors should be considered while placing AED pads to ensure optimal results:

1. Age and Size of the Victim

AED pad placement varies based on the victim’s age and size. For adults and children above eight years old, the pads should be positioned on the upper right and lower left areas of the chest. However, for infants and children below eight years old, specific pediatric pads or pediatric attenuator systems should be used.

2. Chest Hair, Sweat, or Water

In situations where the victim has excessive chest hair, sweat, or water on their chest, it may be challenging to achieve good pad adhesion. In such cases, quickly wipe the chest dry and remove any excess hair to ensure proper pad attachment.

3. Pacemakers or Implanted Devices

If the victim has a pacemaker or other implanted devices, it is crucial to place the AED pads at least one inch away from these devices. Placing the pads directly over these areas might interfere with their functioning.

4. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions may require special considerations when placing AED pads. For victims with burns, wounds, or other chest abnormalities, try to place the pads on areas with intact skin. If necessary, avoid placing the pads directly over wounds or burns.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can AED pads be placed on the back instead of the chest?

No, AED pads should always be placed on the victim’s chest. Placing them on the back may interfere with the proper functioning of the AED and hamper its ability to analyze the heart rhythm accurately.

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Should AED pads be removed before performing CPR?

No, AED pads should not be removed before performing CPR. It is essential to continue performing chest compressions while the AED is analyzing the heart rhythm. The AED will prompt you to pause CPR if necessary.

Can AED pads be reused on multiple victims?

In most cases, AED pads are for single-use only and should not be reused on multiple victims. It is crucial to have additional pads available for multiple victims or to replace pads that have been used.

What happens if AED pads are placed incorrectly?

Incorrect placement of AED pads can lead to inaccurate readings and ineffective treatment. The AED may not be able to deliver appropriate shocks or might deliver them to the wrong areas. Proper pad placement is vital for successful defibrillation.


In times of sudden cardiac emergencies, every second counts. Knowing where to place AED pads correctly can make a significant difference in saving a life. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can ensure that AED pads are correctly positioned on the victim’s chest, increasing the chances of successful defibrillation. Remember to consider factors such as age, chest hair, and any medical conditions that may impact pad placement. By being well-prepared and knowledgeable, you can confidently use an AED when it matters most.

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