AED Pads Placement Step by Step Guide

AED Pads Placement
AED Pads Placement

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) pads are a vital component of any lifesaving AED unit. The pads are put on the bare chest of an individual who appears to be experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The AED machine can determine if the heart rate is potentially lethal and if so, it must be treated with a defibrillation shock.

It is essential to understand how to properly use an AED to enhance the efficiency you can deliver treatment to someone who urgently needs it. It would help if you placed the pads safely to avoid burns or other injuries associated with their use and account for the size of the individual. This step-by-step guide will review everything you need to know about where to properly place AED pads on men, women, and children.

How To Correctly Place AED Pads On Adults Step By Step?

Adults, and individuals over eight years old, regardless of gender, require the same defibrillation process; the process is no different for pregnant women. Different AED brands may vary from one to another, so always check the manual for specific instructions.

If you suspect a person is suffering a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), it is essential to call 911 and administer CPR and an AED as quickly as possible to give the victim the best chance of survival. CPR can deliver oxygen to the brain and other vital organs, but it cannot restore regular heart rhythm alone. This is why you must use an AED as quickly as possible.

AEDs are user-friendly and straightforward. The following step-by-step guide will give you the confidence to operate an AED unit in the event you need to use it:

STEP 1: Switch the device on.

STEP 2: Peel the pads from the backing. You must place electrode pads on the bare chest of a person requiring treatment, on the anterior of the chest. One must go above the right nipple, while the other should be on the left side of the chest, about a few inches below the armpit. Press the pads down firmly

STEP 3: Follow the prompts the machine gives you.

STEP 4: Clear the patient and give the shock.

STEP 5: Proceed with compressions and continue following any additional instructions/prompts.

How To Correctly Place AED Pads On Infants And Children Step By Step?

You must consider that the defibrillation requirements for adults do not apply to children, as children require a lower energy level to reset the normal heart rhythm. For this reason, the defibrillation process for children must differ from that needed for adults. Some AEDs feature pediatric pads for delivering the current through the heart of an infant or child.

A child’s body is much smaller than that of a grown adult, and because of the size difference, it’s essential to follow the specific instructions of care intended for a child. If you are uncertain of the child’s age, look for signs of puberty like breast development or facial hair. If you see signs of puberty, use adult AED pads instead of pediatric pads.

When you use an AED to defibrillate the heart of a child younger than eight years of age or who weighs below 55 pounds, you must follow the guidelines precisely. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough.

STEP 1: Switch the device on.

STEP 2: Expose the chest. If wet, dry the chest.

STEP 3: Open the electrode pads, peel off the backing, and check for a pacemaker or a defibrillator.

STEP 4: The pad goes in the center of the child’s chest, and the second pad goes in the middle of the back. This way, the heart is in alignment between the two pads. The pad goes on the center of the chest for infants, and a second pad goes in the middle of the back.

STEP 5: The machine will tell whether to administer a shock or not. You must follow the machine’s instructions.

Why Anterior-Posterior Pad Placement And Anterior Lateral Pad Placement Position Is Preferred?

Anterior-posterior and Anterior-lateral are standard technical terms to describe electrode pad placement. To better understand these terms, you must consider the anatomical position. Anatomical position is associated with the body’s orientation, such as lateral, anterior, and posterior.

Anterior-posterior means the front and back of the body. When a feature is described as anterior to another, it means that it is closer to the “front of the body.” A feature described as posterior to another means that it is closer to the “back of the body.” When referring to AED pads, it means that one pad is placed in the front of the chest, whereas the other is placed on the back.

Anterior lateral is equivalent to “toward the front” or “towards the edge.” Anterior features are nearer to the front of the body, whereas lateral features are nearer the edge of the body. Anterior lateral pads work when one pad is placed on the right side of the chest, slightly below the collarbone, while the other is placed on the lower left side of the chest.

Numerous clinical trials have revealed inconsistencies regarding the effect of electrode position on the benefit of electrical cardioversion. [ 1 [] ] Over 1280 patients were involved in a meta-analysis to investigate the impact of anterior-posterior AED pad position on the benefit of electrical cardioversion.

The analysis revealed that only patients with a left atrium of less than or equal to 45mm and only atrial fibrillation might benefit from the anterior-posterior AED position more than the anterior lateral position. However, there wasn’t enough evidence to promote the advantages of the anterior-posterior AED pad position in other circumstances.

Frequently Asked Question:


There is no overstating the importance of correct AED pad placement on the chest. Ultimately, however, it is all about the electrical signal going through as many ventricles as possible. Incorrectly placed AED pads on the upper left shoulder, and the right side won’t deliver the electrical charge required to go through the entire heart.


[1] Anterior-posterior versus anterior-lateral electrode position for external electrical cardioversion of atrial fibrillation: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – ScienceDirect []