Almost 600 AEDs need urgent updates

Almost 600 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) nationwide require urgent safety updates or they may fail to work properly in an emergency, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has warned.

An AED is a device that administers an electric shock to a person who has suffered a cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest refers to the sudden loss of function of the heart. It occurs when there is an abrupt disturbance in the heart's rhythm. This can cause the heart to stop beating altogether, or to stop beating enough to keep a person alive.

A person whose heart has stopped beating will fall unconscious and stop breathing normally. If they do not get immediate medical assistance, sudden cardiac death will follow. Some 5,000 people die as a result of this every year in Ireland and 70% of these deaths occur outside of hospital.

In recent years, AEDs have been installed in many places where large groups of people tend to gather, such as shopping centres, sports clubs, community centres and schools.

According to the HPRA, while the number of AEDs that require updates has fallen by 22% compared to the same period in 2016, an estimated 583 AEDs currently require urgent safety updates in Ireland. Without these updates, the devices ‘may not work as intended in an emergency situation'.

Affected AEDs may require a software upgrade or the replacement of a component part within the device.

"This year, over 583 AEDs in Ireland require an urgent update, without which the devices may not perform in a life-threatening emergency. We know that the majority of cardiac arrests occur outside of the healthcare environment, where these devices offer an important first response intervention.

"We would urge those in possession of a device which needs to be upgraded, to contact the manufacturer and to organise the necessary updates as soon as possible. This action could be the difference between life and death for whomever next requires treatment with the device," explained Anne Tobin of the HPRA.

She pointed out that as well as ensuring that AEDs are updated as required, it is also essential that these devices are stored and maintained as instructed by the manufacturer.

"During winter months, these devices may be affected by dropping temperatures and environmental conditions, so it is particularly important at this time of year to ensure devices are stored appropriately," she noted.

The five AED models which require corrective actions are:

-LIFEPAK 1000 defibrillator manufactured by Physio-Control, Inc. USA
-Life-Point manufactured by Metsis Medikal Teknik Sistemler Elektronik Otomoti
-Samaritan PAD 500P manufactured by Physio-Control, Inc. USA
-Zoll AED Plus manufactured by Zoll
-Samaritan Pad PAD 300, PAD 300P manufactured by Physio-Control, Inc. USA

For more information, the HPRA has a dedicated AED webpage, which can be viewed here


[Posted: Tue 28/11/2017]

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