AED devices are critical for restoring a regular heart rhythm and eliminating an abnormal heart rhythm especially among people at risk risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Does your organization have a routine maintenance program for your AED? Like anything else technology related, automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, need to be maintained. Batteries run down and need to be replaced. Electrode pads that attach to a patient's chest also deteriorate and have to be replaced every year or so. Circuitry can fail. It is important to due weekly or monthly AED maintenance checks just to ensure that pads, batteries, and cables are working.
One of the primary considerations is the AED battery as most AED batteries last between 2-5 years, depending on the device. It is important to check on the back of your battery to see the specific date that it will need to be replaced.
AED pads typically have a shelf life of between 18-30 months. This short shelf-life is due to a gel that adheres to the victim’s skin and allows for the transmission of data about the victim’s heart rate to the AED device. Over time, this gel may begin to dry out and lose the necessary contact it needs to transmit accurate information. Electrode pads are also not reusable.
In addition, because AEDs often are placed in public areas, they can be disturbed or tampered with. It is subsequently important to make sure the unit is intact and that nothing is broken during visual inspection. While these maintenance check points are just a few of the things that we inspect here at Help-A-Heart CPR when doing AED inspections, it is critical to know and understand your workplace AED. Email us here at Help-A-Heart CPR if you'd like to establish a routine maintenance plan for your AED.
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.