AED Maintenance: How to Ensure Your Device Is Ready

AED Maintenance: How to Ensure Your Device Is Ready

The American Heart Association places sudden cardiac arrest as the leading cause of the death of 350.000 Americans each year. The Mayo Clinic describes sudden cardiac arrests as abrupt loss of the entire heart activity as a result of an irregular heart rhythm.

In case someone witnesses a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in a public space, having an AED on site can make all the difference in the survival odds of the victim. In such a scenario, if the AED that the bystander handles isn’t ready for use, it can hinder the whole process of using the device.

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) explains an automated external defibrillator (AED) as an advanced and sophisticated medical device designed to administer an electrical jolt to an unresponsive heart. With the right upkeep, AEDs can serve their purpose for years.

This article elaborates on the importance of proper AED maintenance and what needs to be done to ensure the device is readily available for use whenever needed.

Do Routine Visual Checks

Performing routine visual inspections on an automated external defibrillator (AED) is crucial to ensure its proper functioning and readiness in case of an emergency. Remember, visual inspections are only part of AED maintenance.

As per the manufacturer’s guidelines, regular maintenance and servicing are essential to keep the AED in optimal working condition. If any issues are identified during the visual inspection or the AED fails any self-tests, contact the manufacturer or a certified professional for further assistance and servicing.

A regular AED inspection is essential to ensure the device’s functionality and readiness for emergency situations.

The Steps to Routine Visual Checks

The following seven steps will help you examine the device’s condition and if needed, take action before using the AED.

      • Check the exterior: Inspect the AED exterior for any signs of damage, cracks, or discoloration. Ensure that the casing is intact and free from dirt or debris.

        • Verify battery life: Check the battery indicator on the AED to ensure it has sufficient charge. Replace or recharge the battery per the manufacturer’s instructions if the charge is low or expired.

          • Examine electrode pads: Inspect the electrode pads for any wear, damage, or expiration dates. Ensure they are properly sealed and not past their expiration date. Replace the pads if necessary.

            • Assess accessories: Check the accessories, such as cables, connectors, and adapters, for any signs of damage or wear. Ensure they are properly connected and functioning.

              • Inspect indicator lights: Power on the AED and look closely at the indicator lights. Ensure they function correctly and display the appropriate status, such as power, readiness, or battery levels.

            Ensure the AED Is Placed and Stored Properly

            Proper placement and storage of an automated external defibrillator (AED) are crucial to ensure quick access and optimal functionality in case of a cardiac emergency. Here are some guidelines for the proper placement and storage of AEDs:

                • Accessibility: Place AEDs in visible and easily accessible locations, preferably near high-traffic areas where the risk of sudden cardiac arrest is higher, such as gyms, sports facilities, offices, schools, and public spaces.

                  • Clear signage: Clearly mark the location of the AED with visible signs or decals. These signs should be recognizable and display the universal AED symbol.

                    • Climate control: Store AEDs in a controlled environment with a temperature range as recommended by the manufacturer. Extreme temperatures can affect the battery life and performance of the device.

                      • Mounting: Mount the AED on a wall or in a cabinet, preferably at eye level, ensuring it is securely attached and easily visible.

                        • Protection: Protect the AED from dust, moisture, and physical damage using a protective case, cover, or cabinet designed for AED storage.

                          • Accessibility for all: Consider accessibility for people with disabilities when choosing the height and placement of the AED. Ensure it is easily reachable and visible to everyone.

                        External factors can impact how long an AED serves its purpose, such as exposure to different environmental conditions, improper storage, etc. AEDs come with certain recommended operational guidelines that need to be followed, or you risk the AED’s efficiency.

                        Perform Periodical Cleaning

                        If you’ve had AED training, you know how to clean the device properly. In general, cleaning an AED should be done periodically and whenever it becomes visibly soiled or contaminated. Factors such as environmental conditions, usage frequency, and the specific location of the AED can impact the cleaning schedule.

                        Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the AED is essential. Typically, you can use non-abrasive wipes or cleaning solutions recommended by the manufacturer to clean the exterior surfaces. However, it is crucial to avoid getting moisture or cleaning agents inside the device, including the battery compartment or control panel.

                        Regularly inspect the AED for any signs of dirt, dust, or debris, and promptly clean and disinfect it when necessary to maintain a hygienic and well-functioning device.

                        Mind the Batteries and Pads

                        Change the pads and batteries of an AED according to the manufacturer’s guidelines or expiration dates. Typically, electrode pads have an expiration date printed on them and should be replaced before that date.

                        Follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for AED battery replacement to ensure optimal performance during critical moments. The AED’s battery has a limited lifespan and should be replaced as the manufacturer recommends, typically every 2 to 5 years.

                        Checking the expiration date and condition of AED electrode pads is vital for maintaining their effectiveness and ensuring the accurate delivery of life-saving shocks. If the pads are used during a rescue, they must be replaced immediately, even if they haven’t reached the expiration date.

                        Regularly check the battery status indicator on the AED to ensure it has sufficient charge. It is important to maintain fresh pads and a properly functioning battery to ensure the readiness and effectiveness of the AED in an emergency.

                        Follow an AED Maintenance Checklist

                        If you follow the AED maintenance checklist below, you can ensure your AED is clean, safe, operable, and ready to be used.

                            • Make sure the device is undamaged and clean;

                            • Ensure the status indicator is green – it means the AED has passed its self-test;

                            • There are no loose parts or cracks on the housing;

                            • The electrodes are there, nicely sealed in their packaging, and still within an expiration date range;

                            • There are no cracks, nicks, broken or exposed wires on all the cables;

                            • The batteries are good to go;

                            • The AED is stored in a visible, safe space that’s easily accessible;

                            • The AED is not stored in a high-temperature or low-temperature spot that exceeds the manufacturer’s storing recommendations.

                          How to Troubleshoot Your AED

                          AED troubleshooting can help identify and resolve any issues that may affect its proper functioning. Some of the common, tried-and-tested troubleshooting steps include the following:

                              • Do a power check: Ensure the AED is turned on and has a sufficient battery charge. Check for loose or disconnected power connections, too;

                                • Assess electrode placement: Verify that the electrode pads are properly attached to the AED and can be placed correctly on the patient’s chest. Check for any obstructions or interference with the electrode pads;

                                • Check for error messages: Look for any error messages or indicators displayed on the AED screen. Consult the AED’s user manual or manufacturer’s guidelines for troubleshooting specific error codes.

                              If the troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue or if there are concerns about the AED’s performance, contact the manufacturer’s customer support or a certified service provider for further assistance.

                              The Verdict: Ensuring AEDs Are Ready for Use

                              Proper AED maintenance is crucial for ensuring the device’s reliability and effectiveness in life-threatening situations. Regular inspection, battery checks, electrode pad replacement, and staying in line with manufacturer guidelines are the best people can do to make sure they can rely on the life-saving device when needed.

                              Monitoring and keeping track of the AED expiration date is crucial to ensure that the device remains within its recommended operational lifespan and is ready for use in emergency situations. Additionally, staying up-to-date with software updates and providing proper training for individuals responsible for AED maintenance is vital.

                              A well-maintained AED instills confidence in its readiness, improves response times, and increases the chances of successful resuscitation. By prioritizing proper AED maintenance, we can maximize the potential to save lives in emergency cardiac situations.