Once the Covid-19 pandemic began, shipping and supply demands quickly became an issue. With many items like cars, cell phones, masks, gloves, ventilators and more being in high demand many medical devices got quickly added to the list. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a shortage of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and their components have been added to the list. The FDA reports that due to increased demand for AEDs across the healthcare system, many manufacturers are experiencing supply shortages or delays in production and delivery. 

What is an AED? 

An Automated External Defibrillator or AED is a portable medical device used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. An AED works by delivering an electrical shock to the heart through adhesive electrode pads placed on the chest, in order to restore a normal heartbeat and prevent further damage from occurring. AEDs can be found in schools, offices, pools,  gyms, grocery stores, and many other public areas. An AED can be operated by trained responders or bystanders in emergency situations, often before paramedics arrive. The device uses voice prompts and visual cues that guide users through each step of defibrillation, making them more user-friendly to the public. An AED is designed for use on adults, children, and infant patients suffering from sudden cardiac arrest or SCA.

FDA Shortage List

Beginning with personal protective equipment (PPE), testing equipment, and ventilators the list of shortage items kept growing and growing during the covid 19 pandemic. In July, the FDA officially announced AEDs both wearable, and non-wearable devices as well as their parts, have been added to the device shortage list. During the covid 19 pandemic, many items became harder to find, and more and more items and devices were added to the list. The shortage of AEDs comes from the uptick in demand for the device as well as discontinued parts and shortages in both components and accessories. This shortage is estimated to last until the end of 2022. Organizations, non-profits, and businesses are urged to regularly check with their suppliers for updates on the availability and estimated delivery times of AED units they have ordered. While businesses and suppliers await shipments refurbished AEDs have been a great option, as well as using existing maintained AEDs. 

Impact of FDA Shortages - Pad Shortage & Battery Shortage in 2022

The shortage of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) has had a significant impact on the ability to respond to cardiac arrest in many communities across the world. AEDs are important medical devices used to help restore normal heart rhythm during cases of sudden cardiac arrest. Without access to an AED, it is difficult for first responders and bystanders to provide life-saving care before emergency personnel arrive. With a shortage of AEDs, some vital issues have arisen.