AED Maintenance is Key for Life-Saving Defibrillators

As a distributor of AEDs, Global Medical Services would like to take this opportunity to comment on the recent CBC media reports regarding AEDs not operating correctly or failing.  As indicated in the article, a reason for the failure of an AED to function properly has been the lack of routine maintenance.  It is important for individuals or organizations who have purchased an AED to frequently check their device to ensure it will be ready when needed.  To ensure readiness, a routine check would involve inspecting the following:

  • Expiration dates on the battery and electrode pads.  If either items are about to expire or have expired, immediately order and replace the soon to expire/or expired supplies.
  • AED examined for visible damage. 
  • Electrode cable is securely connected to AED
  • Spare set of electrodes is present with AED
  • Rescue Kit is present with AED

To help organizations manage their AED program, GMS provides an AED Medical Direction Program. As part of this program, we track the battery and electrode expiration dates, placing a call to your organization in advance of expiration to ensure the AED is always ready to be used.

In addition to helping track expiration dates, the AEDs we distribute are equipped with safety features to help ensure the AEDs will work when needed. The following are some of the features:

Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR Plus AED:

  • Performs weekly and monthly automatic self- tests for functionality
  • 4 Readiness indicators
  • SafeGuard Power System – a dual layer of security inside the CR Plus as the internal battery is kept to its optimal power level via the CHARGE-PAK™ battery charger.

Cardiac Science Powerheart G3 Plus AED:

  • Rescue Ready Technology
    • a daily, weekly and monthly check for functionality of all main components (battery  and electrodes for presence and capacity, software and hardware)
    • visual alarm (Rescue Ready Status Indicator turns from green to red)
    • an audible alarm (prompting the user to service the unit)

The media reports also state that some defibrillators did not deliver a shock.  It is important to understand that in some sudden cardiac arrest situations, the defibrillators may not deliver a shock because it is not needed.  When the electrode pads are placed on the patient’s chest, the device analyzes for 2 shockable rhythms:  Ventricular fibrillation (VF) or Ventricular tachycardia (VT).  If these shockable rhythms are detected, a shock will be delivered.  If they are not detected, a shock will not be delivered and the rescuer will continue with CPR.  If a device does not deliver a shock, it does not mean the unit has failed.

Like all safety equipment, AEDs should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Having a regular maintenance plan in place can help ensure your AED will be ready to use when needed.

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