Automated External Defibrillator Q&A

Originally published in TechNation’s April Roundtable: AEDS/Defibrillators.

Q: What are the basic functions or features every automated external defibrillator (AED) should have?
Okeson: Two essential functions should be present with every AED. One, the AED should always be rescue-ready and in a place easily accessible. Each manufacturer offers features on their AEDs to assist in this function and a variety of other additional support. Second, an AED should always be easy to use and support the steps in the chain of survival taught in CPR class.

Q: What types of checks and regular maintenance do defibrillators/AEDs require?
Okeson: All AEDs perform automated self-tests, some daily and some weekly, and recommend a visual inspection once per month. Depending on the location of the AED, there may be other local requirements.
On the other hand, defibrillators require a manual daily self-check, and some newer units even assist with automated tests.

Q: What are the most important things to look for in a defibrillator/AED?
Okeson It is very important to acquire a defibrillator/AED from a reputable source that will be able to service and support the product. You want to buy a defibrillator/AED which has accessories such as pads and batteries readily available on the market. A unit that has FDA PMA approval assures you will have the accessories and parts available as well as the support of the manufacturer

Q: How can a HTM professional extend the life of defibrillators/AEDs?
Okeson: Annual preventative maintenance (PM) is the first step your HTM professional can perform to assure your units are working properly and are up to date with current software and potential future problems are addressed. Your HTM professional can also make you aware of any recall issues with your equipment.

Q: What else should readers know about defibrillators/AEDs?
Okeson: AEDs and defibrillators are like any other piece of electronic equipment and have an end of life.
Since AEDs are seldom used and usually out of sight, they are often forgotten. Know when your end-of-life is and budget for replacement equipment.

David Okeson
Field Sales and Service Representative