When to Replace Your AED?

March 29, 2013

Your automated external defibrillator (AED) is one of the most important safety tools in your facility. In a cardiac emergency, it could help you save a life. Although not everyone can be saved from sudden cardiac arrest, studies show that early defibrillation can dramatically improve survival rates. As equipment matures and technology advances, it is important to evaluate the age and capabilities of your AEDs to determine if it is time for a replacement.

Age of Device

There are currently two sources that regularly review depreciation of medical supplies. The American Hospital Association's 2004 Estimated Useful Lives of Depreciable Hospital Assets lists the life expectancy of a defibrillator at five years. The Department of the Army Technical Bulletin (TB MED 7) lists life expectancy of a defibrillator at eight years.

Manufacturers also determine to discontinue products when parts may become obsolete and are no longer available for service and repairs. In addition, if your warranty is expired, it can become cost-prohibitive to service or upgrade the unit. Check with your manufacturer for any take-back or trade-in discounts that can help offset the cost of replacement.

When you decide it's time to replace your AEDs, ask about the warranty period of your new devices. This is generally an indicator of the quality and reliability of the units. Physio-Control, for example, offers an eight-year warranty on the LIFEPAK CR® Plus AED – the longest warranty on the market today.

Technology Improvements

Biphasic waveforms
Gentle, yet effective, biphasic waveforms are now the standard of care. It has been proven that biphasic waveforms are more effective than monophasic waveforms in converting chaotic heart rhythms to an organized heart rhythm. Because of the effectiveness of biphasic waveforms, defibrillators with monophasic waveforms are no longer manufactured. If you bought your unit before 2004, it is possible that it is a monophasic defibrillator.

Escalating energy
The ability to escalate energy to 360J can improve shock success when lower energy shocks fail1. This gives those difficult-to-defibrillate patients a better chance of survival. Currently, Physio-Control is the only manufacturer that escalates energy to 360J, an energy level used by many paramedics and physicians.

Further support for increasing energy up to 360J comes from a recent analysis of the behavior of biphasic shocks from a large set of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest data. The study showed defibrillation probability increased in parallel with each higher energy dose (82% at 200J, 86% at 300J, 90% at 360J) in patients who received shocks at each of the three energy levels. In addition, clinical studies of both AF3 and VF1 show no evidence of cardiac damage with escalating energy to 360 joules.

A defibrillator purchase is an investment that lasts years. Choosing an AED with full energy provides the flexibility to deliver the dose your patient needs as guidelines and protocols evolve to reflect new understanding and research.

Battery improvements
Battery technology has improved significantly in recent years. Older units often require large, bulky batteries that are expensive to replace. Batteries in current AEDs are typically small and lightweight, carry a higher capacity, and are less expensive on a per year basis.

Usability Improvements

Fully automatic shock
While all AEDs are designed to be user-friendly, fully automatic AEDs make it even easier for a responder to help a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. A fully automatic AED is designed to give a shock automatically, if needed, without the user having to push a button to deliver that shock. The device communicates clear, calm, step-bystep instructions that let responders know when a victim is about to be shocked. Fully automatic models are designed to help responders who may hesitate to push the shock button.

Two studies compared the behavior of untrained rescuers using a fully automatic or semi-automatic external defibrillator in a simulated cardiac arrest scenario. The first study found there was no difference in rescuer safety between a fully automatic and a semi-automatic device. The other study demonstrated use of the fully automatic device resulted in fewer errors during shock delivery, and reduced the time interval from the first shock to the third shock.

Clear voice prompts and step-by-step instructions
Continual improvements in the quality and clarity of voice prompts and instructions are helping to better guide responders in deploying the AED device and delivering CPR appropriately.

For example, both the 2005 and 2010 AHA Guidelines state that after delivering a shock, "the AED should instruct the rescuer to resume CPR immediately, beginning with chest compressions". After the 2005 Guidelines were published, Physio-Control updated its AED device prompt to "Provide chest compressions and rescue breaths" to better align with the Guidelines.

Visual indicators and voice prompt updates have also been added to help instruct the responder in placing the electrode pads appropriately.The simple, step-by-step instructions are continually reviewed and updated based on user feedback and new AHA Guidelines. If you purchased your AED prior to 2005, you can improve responders' ability to deliver lifesaving intervention by updating your AEDs to take advantage of the most advanced prompts and instructions.

Ease of maintenance
To increase readiness assurance, today's AEDs have indicators that notify you when the electrode pads are passed the Use By date and when the battery requires replacement. Additionally, Physio-Control devices offer a synchronized replacement schedule for pads and batteries, minimizing the maintenance burden and helping to ensure your units will always be supplied and ready for use.

Coordination with your EMS agency is key to a successful AED program at your facility. Inquire about the brand of devices your local EMS teams use. If they have Physio-Control LIFEPAK products, you may want to consider replacing your AEDs with the LIFEPAK CR Plus or LIFEPAK EXPRESS® AED, since all LIFEPAK devices are compatible. Aligning your program with your local EMS helps to streamline the transition of a patient from your facility to the ambulance to the hospital.




ALS Accessories
Edge System Electrodes with QUIK-COMBO® Connector
EDGE System Pediatric RTS Electrodes with QUIK-COMBO® Connector
Lifepak 20 NiMH Rechargeable Internal Battery
Cleartrace Adult ECG Electrodes - 3 Pack
ECG Strip Chart Recorder Paper, 50mm, Box of 3 Rolls
ECG Strip Chart Recorder Paper, 100mm, Box of 2 Rolls
Physio-Control LIFEPAK AEDs
LIFEPAK® Express Defibrillator
LIFEPAK® CR Plus Semi or Fully Automatic Defibrillator
LIFEPAK® CR2 Semi or Fully Automatic Defibrillator
LIFEPAK® 1000 Defibrillator
LIFEPAK® 1000 Defibrillator with ECG
Physio-Control LIFEPAK AED Accessories
Lifepak CR Plus Charge-Pak Kit
Lifepak Express Charge Pak Kit
Lifepak Infant/Child Reduced Energy Electrode Starter Kit
Lifepak Infant/Child Reduced Energy Electrodes
QUIK-COMBO® Adult Defibrillation/ECG Electrode Pads
Lifepak 1000 Non-rechargeable 5 Year Battery
Lifepak 500 Non-rechargeable 4 Year Battery
AED Rescue Pak
CR Plus/Express Wall Mount Bracket
Lifepak 1000 and 500 Wall Mount Bracket
AED Metal Wall Bracket
CR Plus/Express Hard-Shell Water-Tight Carrying Case
CR Plus/Express Airtight Waterproof Hard Shell Case
Lifepak 1000 Hard Shell, Water Tight Carrying Case
CR Plus/Express Soft Shell Carrying Case
Lifepak 1000 Soft Shell Carrying Case
CR Plus Trainer Package
Adult Quik-Pak Training Electrode Set
Replacement Adult Training Electrodes
Infant/Child AED Training Set
Replacement Infant/Child Training Electrodes
NEW Lifepak 1000 Training System
AED Three-Way Sign
AED Two-Way Sign
AED Flat Sign
Surface Mount Alarmed Cabinet
HeartSine Samaritan AEDs & Accessories
HeartSine Samaritan 350P
HeartSine Samaritan 360P
HeartSine Samaritan 500P
HeartSine Samaritan Adult Pad-Pak
HeartSine Samaritan Adult Pad-Pak for Aviation
HeartSine Samaritan Pediatric Pad-Pak
Defibtech Products
Lifeline 5-year battery Pack
Lifeline 7-year battery Pack
Lifeline 9V Lithium Battery
Lifeline Adult Defibrillation Pads
Lifeline Pediatric Defibrillation Pads
Lifeline VIEW Adult Defibrillation Pads
Lifeline VIEW Pediatric Defibrillation Pads
Lifeline VIEW 4-year Replacement Battery Pack
Lifeline VIEW Soft Carrying Case
AED Rescue Pak
Lifeline Data Card Reader
Lifeline Medium and Large Capacity Data Card
Lifeline Medium and Large Capacity Data Card with Audio
Lifeline to Physio-Control Lifepak Quik-Combo Pad Adaptor
Lifeline to Zoll M-Series Pad Adapter
Lifeline Standalone Trainer Package
Training Conversion Package DCF-E303T
Lifeline Adult Training Pad Package
Lifeline Adult Training Pads (5 pack)
Lifeline Pediatric Training Pad Package
Lifeline Pediatric Training Pads (5 pack)
Lifeline Rechargeable Training Battery Pack
Lifeline Training Battery Charger
Lifeline Training Remote Control
Lifeline AED Soft Carry Case
Lifeline AED Trainer Soft Carry Case
Lifeline Wall Mount Bracket
AED Metal Wall Bracket
AED Three-Way Sign
Surface Mount Alarmed Cabinet
AED Two-Way Sign
AED Flat Sign
Cardiac Science Products
Powerheart G5 Intellisense Adult Defibrillation Pads
Powerheart G5 Intellisense Adult Defibrillation Pads, CPR Feedback Device
Powerheart G5 Intellisense Pediatric Defibrillation Pads
Powerheart G3 Adult Defibrillation Pads
Powerheart G3 Pediatric Defibrillation Pads
Powerheart G3 AED IntelliSense Battery
Powerheart G5 Trainer
AED Metal Wall Bracket
Surface Mount Alarmed Cabinet
Philips Accessories
Philips HeartStart SMART Pads Cartridge
Philips HeartStart Replacement Battery
Philips HeartStart FRx SMART PADS II
ZOLL Accessories
ZOLL Pedi-padz II