AEDs should be regularly maintained to ensure there is a fully functional AED ready in case of a sudden cardiac emergency. Time is a crucial factor in sudden cardiac emergencies, so getting to a working AED as soon as possible is key. Keeping an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) maintained is essential to ensure it functions properly in the event of a sudden cardiac emergency. An AED is an electronic device that can recognize abnormal heart rhythms and deliver an electric shock to help restore a normal rhythm. It’s important for all users of AEDs to be aware of how to maintain them and keep them functioning optimally.
What is an AED?
An AED or automated external defibrillator is a medical device used to help restore normal heart rhythm in individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Typically AEDs are placed in public areas like pools, schools, libraries, grocery stores, and offices where many people can access them. Designed to be used by both trained and untrained individuals, the AED provides voice instructions to guide the user through each step of defibrillation, with some options offering video instructions as well. The AED works by delivering an electrical shock to the heart in hopes it will reset and return to its normal rhythm. It is best to buy an AED from a reputable brand for the best quality and durability of the devices.
AED Inspection Checklist
Visually inspecting an AED to see if the green status indicator light is on should be checked every day. If the light is red, the device will need further maintenance. To ensure your device is always ready for a sudden cardiac emergency, you should check the AED every one to three months for the following
Battery: Batteries are a crucial component of an AED and should be checked regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. To test the AED battery, you can turn the device on to see if it powers on and is functioning. Some AED models have a test button, which can be pressed to check the status of the battery. It is important to check the expiration date on batteries and replace them as necessary to ensure you will always have a working AED in the event of a sudden cardiac emergency.
Electrode Pads: Electrode pads are essential pieces of equipment that connect the victim to the AED. These electrode pads need to be replaced after each use and should also be checked regularly for proper connection with the machine’s electrodes. Additionally, check the AED for both adult electrode pads and child electrode pads. Ensure the packages are sealed and check the expiration date.
Visual Appearance: Check the AEDs visual appearance for any signs of wear or damage that could affect its performance or safety features.
Data Card: If your model AED can store and record data on a data card, ensure the card is properly installed and functioning correctly. This ensures important data during a sudden cardiac emergency will be stored for medical professionals to review.
Stock: Check your secondary supply stock and its expiration dates. Ensure gloves, razors, alcohol prep pads, and scissors are accounted for and sterile. Electrode pads need complete skin connection, so a hairy chest may need to be shaved with a razor, or tight clothing may need to be cut off with scissors.
How Long do Defibrillators Last?
AEDs do not have a set expiration date or life span. However, the exact length of time an AED will last depends on various factors such as how frequently it is used and maintained, the environment in which it is stored, and its manufacturer's specifications. As long as the AED is functioning properly, it can be kept and used for many years. An AED would need to be replaced if it was no longer functioning or if the manufacturer discontinues the model. As the manufacturer continues to produce parts, you can repair and maintain the batteries and electrode pads to keep your AED functional. For batteries, the typical life is around 2 to 7 years, and electrode pads typically last around 2 to 5 years. Replacing your AED is crucial if the manufacturer has stopped making the electrode pads and batteries for your model, as you will no longer be able to power or connect the life-saving device to an individual in need.
The device should be inspected regularly by a qualified medical professional or other trained personnel. This inspection should include checking battery status, inspecting electrodes and pads for wear & tear, and confirming proper operation through testing. The AED should also be stored in its original case away from extreme temperatures and dust as much as possible; if not used often enough, batteries may need replacing more frequently than recommended intervals due to age-related deterioration when unused.