How Do You Know When It Is Time to Replace Your AED Device?

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Every year, more than 250,000 Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest. A bystander using a defibrillator for cardiac arrest saves as many as 1,700 lives each year in the U. S.

Each state has laws addressing mandatory AED device placement in public places. These buildings may include gyms/health clubs, schools, daycares, hospitals, dental offices, public pools, airports, and other public gathering locations. Find out what your state’s law requires.

Routine AED Check

All automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) checks need to take place on a monthly basis. This ensures readiness in the event of a cardiac arrest. Many AED machine failures have occurred due to a lack of routine checks and part updates.

Be sure that you are checking and replacing the damaged or expired parts as well as the whole unit as follows.

Expired AED Pads

You must ensure that you have the appropriate number and kind of AED pads for your defibrillator. AED pads come in adult or child sizes.

Pediatric pads must be used for children younger than 8 years of age. You may use adult pads on children 8 years and older. You may also need to consider the size of the child.

AED failure often results from expired pads. Be sure to document the expiration date and replace the pads as needed. Most AED pads have a 2-year expiration time.

Expired pads can go in the regular trash.

Expired AED Batteries

Expired AED batteries represent yet another cause for AED machine failure. The Annals of Emergency Medicine reported that almost one in every 4 AED device failures resulted from problems with the batteries or power.

Routine checks cannot be emphasized enough. Most batteries have a 4 to 5-year lifespan. It is important to note that battery life decreases in extreme conditions.

It is best to make note of your battery expiration date and order a new one on time. This prevents a possible negative outcome caused by a non-functioning AED.

Disposal of AED batteries must follow specific procedures. Some AED batteries can be recycled or recharged. Other batteries need to undergo discharging before disposal. Follow your AED manufacturer’s instructions for battery disposal.

Do not place these batteries in the regular trash. Contact your local battery recycling site. If you do not have one in your area, look online to learn how to dispose of the battery.

Device Malfunction

Check machine indicators during the monthly inspection. This is important to make sure that the device is ready to work in a crisis.

The AED performs self-checks on its circuitry to check for malfunctions. The system may perform this check every day, week, or month.

There may be an indicator light that shows green when all systems are functioning. If there is a problem with the system, it may display a red light.

You should also open the AED as if you’re preparing to use it. The AED voice should begin giving instructions.

If these indicators or functions do not work properly, immediately have the device serviced.

Damaged AED Device

If your AED device becomes damaged, replace it promptly. Your monthly check must always include a visual inspection. Search for cracks, changes to the outer machine case, or other problems.

This may signal bigger problems on the inside. If you have a service contract, contact your provider to have your machine checked. Do not leave a damaged machine in service.

Device readiness could be the difference in life or death.

End of Warranty

Most AED machines carry a 7 to 8-year warranty. Once the AED has passed this warranty period, it may be best to consider trading it in or purchasing a new or refurbished one.

Do not throw away the old AED. Visit online sites that will buy used AED machines for refurbishing.

After Use of the AED

After using the AED on a patient, you must take several steps before returning the unit to service. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s procedures and guidelines.

The general rule requires the replacement of the battery and electrode pads. Removal of event data from the AED is vital. This information includes the victim’s heart rhythms and the number of shocks delivered.

This represents protected health information. Be sure to follow standard privacy protection policies.

Documentation of AED Checks

The importance of monthly inspections and checks has been emphasized. In addition, you must ensure that you document all inspections and actions taken.

Organizations should develop specific AED maintenance and use policies. This is to outline the organization’s expectations concerning care and maintenance of the AED device.

The AED should never be just hung up, forgotten, and collect dust. This can be more dangerous. When there’s an assumption that you have a lifesaving device, but, in fact, it doesn’t work, a life may be lost.

Refurbished AED Device

Is it safe to buy a refurbished AED? Should I worry about having malfunctions at the critical moment?

Most AEDs have never been used in a lifesaving situation. The most use they get is the monthly maintenance check. So, what happens to AEDs that have been sitting, unused, for 3 or more years?

The FDA certifies companies to refurbish AEDs that are routinely traded out after a certain number of years. They are then recertified for public use.

Each AED undergoes inspection and testing. All disposable parts like electrodes, CPR masks, and accessories are replaced. The AED is then packaged for sale at a discounted price.

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