An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a life-saving device. If a patient collapses and loses consciousness due to a sudden cardiac arrest, the use of AED equipment is imperative to restart the heart. It should be used during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If patients miss optimal treatment time, namely, the first 4-5 minutes, the chances of survival become slim.
Cardiac arrests happen when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions , often causing ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia and eventually leading to a sudden cardiac arrest . Though cardiac arrests are commonly used synonymously with heart attacks, the two are vastly different. A heart attack occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood supply due to a blocked artery  — causing the heart muscle to degenerate due to a lack of oxygen.
In most countries, including the United States, ambulances are equipped with defibrillators, and paramedics are professional to handle the situation swiftly and efficiently. Defibrillators have saved the lives of numerous cardiac patients and are one of the most useful devices for emergencies related to sudden cardiac arrests.
However, the use of defibrillator isn’t just by medical professionals and paramedics. There are different types of defibrillators for different medical settings, among which the AED is mostly designed for public use, and is recommended to be installed in the public facilities and spaces. Most medical councils suggest that public access to defibrillation devices should be allowed and could lead to higher rates of survival from sudden cardiac arrests.
To learn CPR techniques and to be able to use an AED, one needs to undergo a Basic Life Support (BLS) training program, which is offered by numerous health institutes and non-profit organizations, including the Red Cross .
To make sure that the AED functions well in the event of emergencies, it must undergo regular maintenance checks and clean. Mindray has listed proper protocols to conduct maintenance checks and has listed detailed steps for cleaning the device as well.
Your equipment should be cleaned on a regular basis. If there is heavy pollution or lots of dust and sand in your location, the equipment should be cleaned more frequently. Before cleaning the equipment, consult your facility’s regulations for cleaning the equipment.
Recommended cleaning agents are:
- Sodium hypochlorite bleach (10%, Sodium hypochlorite)
- Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
- Ethanol (75%)
- Isopropyl alcohol (70%)
- Perform classic concentrate OXY (KHSO4 solution)
To clean your equipment, please follow these rules:
1. Shut down the equipment, disconnect cables, and remove the battery.
2. Clean the display screen using a soft, clean cloth dampened with a glass cleaner.
3. Clean the exterior surface of the equipment using a soft, clean cloth dampened with a glass cleaner.
4. Wipe off all the cleaning solution with a dry cloth after cleaning if necessary.
5. Dry your equipment in a ventilated, cool place.
Disinfect the equipment as required in your facility servicing schedule. Cleaning equipment before disinfecting is recommended.
Sterilization is not recommended for the equipment unless otherwise indicated in the Instructions for Use that accompany the product.
How to Maintain an AED Device
It is essential to conduct regular maintenance . Check on your AED equipment to determine if it is indeed working in optimal condition. The following steps can help you to ensure your device is properly maintained.
● Place the AED device in a visible location with easy access, such as mounted on the wall of a corridor.
● Check if the battery has been installed correctly.
● Ensure that the status or service light is working fine.
● Check to see if the visual and or audio alarms are working properly.
● If the device has audio instructions as well, check to see if they’re working.
● Thoroughly inspect the exterior of the AED equipment for any signs of damage.
● Ensure that the pads are in the right, clean working conditions.
● Ensure that the battery has not expired and that the AED is with enough electricity.
● Always keep a manual checklist for AED inspection to ensure it is done regularly and thoroughly.
● For further information refer to the instructions manual of your AED device.
*Note: This information is for general and educational purposes only and cannot replace the instructions and recommendations set by the manufacturers of the AED equipment.
 Emergency Treatment of Cardiac Arrest. (2020). Retrieved 31 January 2020, from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiac-arrest/emergency-treatment-of-cardiac-arrest
 Sudden Cardiac Arrest | National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). (2016). Retrieved 31 January 2020, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sudden-cardiac-arrest
 Watch: What’s the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest? (2020). Retrieved 31 January 2020, from https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/heart-attack-and-cardiac-arrest
AED | Learn to Use an AED Defibrillator | Red Cross. (2020). Retrieved 31 January 2020, from https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/aed
 Resuscitation Council (UK) and the British Heart Foundation. (2017). A guide to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) [Ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.bhf.org.uk/-/media/files/hcps/aed_guide_01-08-17.pdf