Occasionally we have customers that question whether they actually need to replace the electrode pads upon reaching expiration or if the pads will still work for another year or so. Last week, we received an AED unit from a customer with a dead battery and electrodes that were expired and tore apart upon opening the package. If a unit will not turn on due to battery failure, it’s obvious that the unit will not function in an emergency—but what about the electrodes?
If a person goes into Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the AED detects a dangerous heart rhythm, the unit will recommend a shock to be delivered in order to attempt to return to a normal heart rhythm. Defibrillation electrodes, also known as “pads” are the conductor of electricity to the victim. All electrodes have a water-based gel layer that sticks to the victim’s chest to deliver the electric current.
AEDs manufacturers include expiration dates on the packages to let consumers know when the pads need to be replaced. As time passes further past the expiration date, the gel layer starts to harden and discolor. If the gel is too hard and no longer sticky, the pads may not stick to the victim properly and may not conduct the necessary current of electricity to the victim’s heart.
Think keeping up with the expiration dates on consumables is too difficult? AED Program Management by En-Pro is a perfect solution for you and your facility. Don’t be caught in a rescue situation without a fully functioning AED. When it comes to saving lives, there are no shortcuts.
By Robert Brown
2nd Life Biomedical Coordinator
**If the pads on your AED are coming up for expiration, you can purchase replacement pads or an extra set for peace of mind at AED.com here: http://www.aed.com/accessories/aed-pads.html