AED Failures May Prove Fatal
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to save lives by administering shocks to hearts in cardiac arrests. But what can be done when the device fails to work because of an easily preventable error? A new study finds that almost a quarter of potentially deadly AED failures are due to problems with batteries.
A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine tracks 1,150 AED failures over a 15-year period. Nearly one in four of those failures occurred due to problems with batteries, according to researchers who pored through nearly 41,000 reports of adverse events associated with the devices. Problems with wiring and with the pads that attached to the patientâ€™s chest accounted for other top concerns.
According to information in the FDAâ€™s database, 23.2 percent of the AED failures were due to battery/power failures, while 23.7 percent were due to problems with the pads or connectors. Batteries on AEDs typically last anywhere from three to five years. The devices signal when users should change the batteries with an error message.
Study authors urged that people using AEDs should report when the device fails. If the unit powers off, for instance, people can indicate whether the problem was due to the batteries or some other cause.