Being familiar with troubleshooting messages from an automated external defibrillator (AED) will help you, your students, and your employees respond quickly and effectively with your device. Today’s post reviews some of the common messages and prompts an AED can generate, along with some other considerations that may arise from using an AED to help someone in a medical emergency.
AEDs are designed to detect problems during use and guide a provider through corrective actions. If a troubleshooting message occurs, stay calm and follow the AED’s voice instructions.
If the AED indicates a problem with the pads, the pads are not completely adhered to the skin or there is a poor connection to the AED. Press pads firmly, especially in the center, to make sure they are adhering well. Make sure the pads’ cable connector is firmly connected to the AED.
If the patient’s chest is wet, remove pads and wipe the chest dry. If pads do not stick due to chest hair, pull the pads off and quickly shave the hair (it’s a great idea to have a razor in your AED response kit). When ready, apply a new set of pads.
Another troubleshooting message may indicate that analysis has been interrupted due to movement. Stop all sources of movement, such as chest compressions or rescue breaths.
If a message indicates the need to replace a battery, there may only be enough energy for a limited number of shocks. If the AED fails to operate, the depleted battery should be removed and replaced with a new one.
A person should be removed from standing water before using an AED. It is okay to use an AED when a person is lying on a wet surface, such as in the rain or near a swimming pool. An AED should never be immersed in water or have fluids spilled on it.
AEDs can also be used safely on metal surfaces, such as gratings or stairwells. Make sure pads do not directly touch any metal surface.
Someone may have a surgically implanted device in the chest, such as a pacemaker or an automated internal defibrillator. In such instances, a noticeable lump and surgical scar will be visible. If the implanted device is in the way of correct pad placement, place the pads so the edges are at least 1 inch away from the device.
Defibrillating over medication patches could reduce the effectiveness of the shock. If a medication patch is interfering with placement, use a gloved hand to peel off the patch and wipe away any remaining residue before placing pads.