AED Brands Blog

AED Maintenance Checklist

Keith Hildebrandt

Regular maintenance is vital to a successful AED program. Batteries can last from 2-7 years, and pads typically last about two years. But, how often should you check your AED?  A good rule of thumb is to inspect the device at least once a month to ensure it is in working condition.  However, you should always refer to the product’s user manual for the manufactures specifications. Each device has its own way of indicating whether it needs attention. Some AEDs will make an audible sound to indicate they have a problem. Others may only give a visual indicator if the device requires service. Listed below are some of the AED components that need maintenance.

Pad Expiration
AED pads have a perishable life. They last about 2 years in most cases. Over time the adhesive dries out and does not adhere to the patient properly. During the AED inspection, it is important to check the expiration date on your pads. Often, the expiration date is located on the front of the package in bold letters next to an hour glass symbol depicted in the image above.

Battery Life Expectancy

Battery life for AEDs range from 2 to 7 years. In order to determine the battery life for your defibrillator, refer back to the specifications in the user’s manual. There may be an additional battery you need to consider.  If your AED is housed in an alarmed cabinet, check the battery that powers the cabinet alarm.

Software Updates

Occasionally manufacturers will release software updates for AEDs in the field. These updates can be done on-site with the right technology. In many instances, you can connect the defibrillator to a computer and upload the software update. If you are concerned about the software on your current AED, call the manufacture and give them your serial number. They can then inform you of any software updates necessary for your device.

CPR Certification Renewals

Maintaining your AED is very important. It is equally important to keep up with employee training for first response. If you have a staff that is trained in CPR and AED use, then you will want to re-certify them every two years. If your facility does not require official training, it is a great idea to have an AED refresher class at least once a year.

An AED alone does not save a life. It requires properly maintained defibrillators, a team of knowledgeable first responders, and up-to-date accessories.

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Are You Equipped to Save a Life?

Keith Hildebrandt

Over 350,000 people die a year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Believe it or not, a person at risk for heart failure may be able to uncover symptoms by having their teeth regularly checked.

How does the mouth reveal heart conditions? Oral health gives dentists insight to a person’s overall health. Problems such as inflamed gums, gingivitis and periodontal disease show signs of other existing conditions. Some of these conditions can correlate to the heart and circulation, such as:

  • Poor Nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco Use


These indications, among other tooth decaying symptoms, are risk factors associated with heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest.


Patients May Misinterpret the Symptoms

Dentists also find that patients with complaints due to maxillofacial pain are actually experiencing signs of a heart attack. In addition to a sore jaw; other symptoms of a heart attack include tightness of the chest, increased sweating, dizziness, short breaths, stomach pains, nausea, and anxiety.


A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, a very different condition. Cardiac arrest can be compared to an electrical problem of the heart. The electrical impulse that articulates heart beats no longer triggers the heart to beat. The heart will then start to fibrillate, or shake uncontrollably. As the heart quivers out of control, no oxygenated blood is circulating through the body.


Time is of the Essence

When SCA occurs there is a 10 minute window to begin CPR and defibrillate a person. For every minute lost, the patients chance of survival decreases by 10%. Keeping an automated external defibrillator on-site can dramatically increase a person’s chance of survival. SCA can strike anyone at anytime. Not only might it affect dental patients, but dental staff and the dentists as well.


Regular dental exams can aid in the prevention of heart related disease. The relationship of heart attack symptoms and maxillofacial pains can bring a heart attack patient to a dental office, when in reality they’re in need of a cardiologist. Having an AED in the office is the best way you can be prepared to help to save a life.

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The Heart of the London 2012 Olympics

Keith Hildebrandt

London’s first response team deserves a gold medal for their job during the 2012 Olympic Games.  In the United State alone 350,000 people die a year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. With a large population gathered for the worldwide ceremonies in London, officials faced a huge challenge to keep the public safe. The London 2012 Olympic cardiology team was led by Dr. Sanjay Sharma of St. George’s Hospital in London, UK. The athletes had specialty doctors nearby. In addition, there were more than 70,000 nurses, paramedics, and trained first responders that volunteered to serve the spectators and general public. (Nainggolan and O’Riordan)

Earlier this year British soccer star Fabrice Muamba suffered from cardiac arrest during a match. He survived with the help of fast moving emergency services and an automated external defibrillator located on the field. In lieu of this event the Olympic staff was well prepared with wide spread access to AEDs.  According to Dr. Sharma there were, “at least one automated external defibrillator for every mile of the marathon.” In addition there were cycle responders in-between who carried AEDs. (Nainggolan and O’Riordan) Each event included staff capable of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation.

In cooperation with an emergency response team, the International Olympic Committee highly recommends heart screening for all Olympic athletes. Dr. Sharma screened all the UK Olympic athletes for underlying heart conditions. On the other side of the pond, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology do not mandate heart screenings for any level of athletics. If they had, American gold medalist and world record holder Dana Vollmer would not have qualified to compete. She is diagnosed with Long QT and has undergone 2 major heart surgeries. Currently, there is no consensus on the matter of screening athletes participating in the Olympics.

Overall, London was prepared for Sudden Cardiac Arrest. UK marathon runner Claire Squires, UK soccer star Fabrice Muambe, Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale-Owen and Italian Piermario Morosini had experienced cardiac events in the months leading up to the Olympics The London Olympics can be considered a success not only from the standpoint of international competition, but the steps taken for cardiac care ensured that the athletes and spectators were kept safe.


Lisa Nainggolan and Michael O’Riordan. London 2012: Preventing sudden cardiac death on the world’s biggest athletic [heartwire > Features]; Jul 23, 2012. Accessed at on Aug 14, 2012

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Do You Really Need Pediatric Pads?

Keith Hildebrandt

Whether you have an existing AED program, or you are interested in starting one, the question will come up, “Do you really need pediatric pads?”  This article will help you determine if pediatric pads are suitable for your AED program.


Q: What is the difference between pediatric AED pads and standard adult AED pads?

A: Pediatric defibrillator pads are smaller than adult pads so that they fit better to a child’s body.  But, the biggest difference is the energy delivery.  Depending on the AED, adult dosage may start at 120 joules of energy and can go as high as 360 joules. But, when in pediatric mode, the AED will reduce the energy delivered to between 50 and 90 joules. The reduction in the energy delivered is activated when the pediatric pads are connected to the AED device.


Q: Why do children require different AED pads than adults?

A: Children are smaller and their bodies have less mass than an adult, so they don’t require as much energy to resuscitate.  By decreasing the energy delivered, the AED is applying therapy more appropriate for a child’s size.  Additionally, adults and children have several physiological differences. Adult AED pads are too large to apply to a small child or infant; pediatric pads are designed to fit a smaller body. Pediatric patients also have different heart rhythms than adults. The pediatric settings on defibrillators can detect the difference and treat them accordingly.


Q: Who should purchase pediatric pads?

A: Qualify the facility in which the AED will be located. Ask questions such as: Are there currently children under 55lbs? Will there be for any specific events that young children may attend such as fairs, field trips, etc.? Will co-workers bring children to work frequently? Will the defibrillator be accessible for public use?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider purchasing pediatric pads.


Q: How do you use pediatric pads on a child in cardiac arrest?

A: Pediatric pads provide clear concise instructions on the packaging. For most AED devices, if adult pads are pre-connected to the AED, unplug them and set them aside.  Then, plug the pediatric pads in.  If the AED accepts a pediatric key, you simply insert the key and use the adult pads that are already connected.  To apply pediatric pads, place the anterior pad on the center of the child’s chest. Then, place the posterior pad onto the center of the child’s back. The AED will then begin analysis and recommend next steps.


Q: When should I replace my pediatric pads?

A: Just like adult AED pads, pediatric pads will expire. Gel on the pads will dry out over time and may not allow for good adhesion to the skin.  Pediatric pads typically will last about two years before they have to be replaced.  The pads expiration date can be found on the packaging of the pads.


More information can be found at American Heart Association Pediatric Information.

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Living With Long QT

Keith Hildebrandt

An avid baseball fan at 13, Scottie Selman had aspirations of playing for his high school team, but his own heart nearly put an end to his dreams.  Unaware of a life-long heart arrhythmia, Scottie was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome a few years back. Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is a genetic heart condition that can cause the sudden death of an individual. In the words of Scottie’s own father, Phil Selman, LQTS is “Sudden death Syndrome.” Despite his condition, this teenage boy has chosen to pursuit his lifelong dreams while accepting the risk of his condition.

His life was altered when his sister was diagnosed with the condition 24 hours prior to surgery. Her electrocardiogram (ECG) reading had an irregularity. The doctors suggested that the Selman Family have all their children checked for LQTS as it is a genetic condition. The eldest of the three had a normal sinus rhythm, but the younger two children were officially diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome.

Scottie was devastated that his heart condition would affect his athletic career. He was a pitcher for a recreational team and was an upcoming high school baseball player. Cardiologists do not recommend athletic activities for LQTS patients. The implications for a teenage boy are extensive.  Scottie is told not to play  vigorous sports, he’s limited to swimming only if he’s accompanied by a chaperone, he’s not allowed to ride roller coasters, and he must were a medical alert bracelet.  In addition, he must live with the knowledge that there’s chance of suffering cardiac arrest at any moment.

At first, parents, Alyce and Phil disagreed about their son’s athletic career. They wanted safety for their son, but at what cost? Phil states, We weighed the tradeoffs of taking away a child’s dream, and decided to compromise between safety and happiness.” The parents collaborated with the cardiologist and coaching staff to formulate a plan for Scottie.

In order for Scottie to participate on the baseball field, he is required to have the following:

  • An Automated External Defibrillator
  • Fluids for Hydration
  • Limited Exertion Training Drills
  • An Emergency Plan in Effect by Coaching Staff

Off the field, his school has AEDs located for public access. Phil believes that “Yes, all schools should have AEDs, and little league organizations too.” He continues to state that “By the time emergency personnel responds to a 911 call, it could be too late.” Mr. Selman advocates for recreation parks to have access to AEDs. Like his son, a heart condition can go undetected in any young athlete.

Alyce and Phil have advice to pass along to other parents, “Do not be scared to get an ECG!” It is a minimally invasive procedure that could save your child’s life.  Scottie Selman shows no outward sign, but risks his life daily. He continues to live his life to the fullest.  Scottie was recently sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation to visit the MLB All-Star game along with several other families. Scottie even had a sandwich at Panera Bread named after him.

His courage shines light into the lives of others.

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On the Beach, Out of Reach… of an AED

Keith Hildebrandt

As tourists prepare to vacation to exotic destinations, cruise the Caribbean or catch a flight, they may be surprised to find that 911 is not always available for emergency assistance. To be out of reach from cell phone reception means we should “have a first response plan,” in the face of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Approximately 383,000 cases of SCA occur outside of a hospital. Most victims show no signs or symptoms prior to collapse.

To bring more gravity to the tourist demographic, only around 8% of the cardiac arrest victims outside of a hospital survive. With help from the American Heart Association, FDA, Federal Aviation Administration, and bold private companies, public access to defibrillation is becoming more prevalent world-wide.

  • Railway Transit

The New Jersey Transit provides transportation over New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia with over 200 million passengers annually. Out of the 200 million commuters per year, 6 lives have been saved by an AED Defibrillator. The NJ Transit Director of Organizational Services claims “the results have been nothing but positive,” and continues to say AEDs achieve “one of our core mission objectives… the safety of our customers.” The common occurrence of AEDs in public transit systems is leading to a standard of care for cardiac arrest victims.

  • Airlines

Airports and commercial airlines are some of the busiest places on earth. Before 2004 there were few medical devices on-board international airplanes. As a result, as many as 1,000 people a year were killed by sudden cardiac arrest on international flights. AED legislation made progress starting in 1996 when the FDA approved AED Defibrillator for flights. In 1997 The Airline Passenger Safety act required “adequate medical supplies and equipment” to treat in-flight medical emergencies.

Airlines have found it more cost effective to have AEDs aboard aircraft than to disrupt entire airports for emergency landings. The latest law passed in 2004 by the Federal Aviation Administration regulates that an AED will be incorporated into the on-board medical supply kit of every domestic, commercial, and charter aircraft. AED regulations for airlines are saving lives and reducing liability.

  • Ships

Surrounded by water, cruise ships are the perfect getaway; far from work and dry land. However, if a ship is not properly equipped, an SCA will have zero chance of survival. For this reason, cruise ships have a medical staff and AEDs aboard. By implementing an AED program, passengers and trained staff have the ability to deliver treatment to patients.

Whether vacationing far away or commuting on the regular F-train downtown, it is important to take notice of the AED Defibrillators around you. Next time you are out of reach from cellular service and medical attention, the AED on the wall could save a life. Encourage your local transportation to implement a program in your community.

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5 Things You Should Know About an AED

Keith Hildebrandt

So your school system, recreational park, or neighborhood association bought an AED.  Now what? Listed below are the five important things you should know about an AED program.

It’s all about Time
Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike a person in an instant. Once a person falls in cardiac arrest, they have a 5-7 minute window until permanent brain damage occurs and 10 minutes until death. The American Heart Association suggests that an AED be placed in a central location, with a goal of using an AED within 3 minutes from the time the victim collapses. When considering implementation. a site assessment will help determine the most effective location for the AED.

Simple to Use, Even for You
AED technology has advanced over the years. They have become user friendly and have simple features such as CPR coaching. During a cardiac event, the AED can analyze a heart rhythm, record an EKG, provide simple voice prompts, and deliver a shock.

Safe and Effective for Everyone
All AEDs on the market are capable of detecting at least two different types of heart arrhythmias. The treatable heart rhythms are ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. When the device senses a shockable rhythm, it prepares to deliver therapy to the patient. In the event the person has collapsed for a non-cardiovascular reason the AED will instruct the responder to start CPR and will not advise a shock. AEDs are absolutely accurate in detecting the heart arrhythmias making them safe and effective for anyone to use.

Reliability is in the Design
During an emergency cardiac event, the victim is relying on the AED to save their life. AEDs are designed to perform self-tests to ensure the components are working correctly. They have visual and audible alerts to signify when they need servicing. Pads and batteries are checked on a daily or weekly basis, while some machines perform a full test shock once a month. AED manufactures realize the importance of having a reliable AED, so you can count on the AED to work in coordination with proper maintenance.

Low Maintenance
Maintenance on an AED is simple, but imperative. It’s necessary to conduct a routine monthly check on the device and supplies. Be sure to reference the user manual for more information on maintenance checks.  Routine checks consist of simple things such as ensuring that the battery is working properly, the pads are not expired, and the information is documented on an inspection tag. Batteries have a useful life that can range from 2-5 years depending on the model. Pads typically expire after 2 years, and they display the expiration date on the packaging. It is helpful to keep spare AED Supplies available in case it’s needed.

Understanding the importance of an AED can effectively save a life. Having an AED device that is a close proximity to common areas will quicken shock delivery. Simplicity develops confidence in a first responder. Reliability in an AED ensures the device will work when needed. In the face of an emergency know that the AED is a powerful tool that saves lives.

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Sudden Death on the Soccer Field

Keith Hildebrandt

Sudden death is a soccer term used to describe a tie breaker for a team to win a match. Sometimes the term can have a more fatal meaning.  On March 17th 2012, English Premier League soccer star Fabrice Muamba  had suffered from sudden death, better known as sudden cardiac arrest.

Muamba was standing in the backfield during the match when he suddenly collapsed.  The match paused immediately and every fan in the stadium fell silent. Medics from each team rushed onto the field and resuscitated Muamba with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) accompanied with CPR. His heart required several shocks before it began to pump blood on its own.

An AED administers an electric shock to a heart in ventricular fibrillation. Every AED is capable of analyzing the heart rhythm and determining whether a shock in needed. The machines also prompt bystanders to administer treatment.   The shock applied to the patient restarts the electrical impulse that stimulates the heart to beat. In over half the cases of sudden cardiac arrest, more than one shock is needed to revive a patient.

It took medics 6-10 minutes to bring 23 year old Muamba back to life.  He was rushed to London’s Chest Hospital where he is being diagnosed with a rare condition that affects highly trained athletes.  Fabrice Muamba is not the first soccer star to suffer from cardiac arrest in a match. It has happened worldwide to athletes of all ages. Italy has gone so far as screening children for heart conditions before allowing them to participate on a soccer team. This has drastically decreased cardiac arrest on the field by 90%.

Muamba is making encouraging progress, yet still remains in intensive care unit at London’s Chest Hospital. His condition is serious but stable.

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AED Maintenance is NOT an Option

Keith Hildebrandt

The buzzer sounds to conclude a victory for the Fennville High School basketball team. Minutes after the game 18-year old all-star athlete Wes Leonard died of sudden cardiac arrest. Unaware of a previous heart condition, he played with all his ability. During a moment of glory for his team with adrenaline surging through his heart, the electrical rhythm of Wes’s heart quivered out of control.

Quickly, the school administrator found the AED in the back of a gym closet. Due to poor AED maintenance the battery of the AED was dead, and the AED would not turn on. Without defibrillation, Wes had no chance to survive.

AED Maintenance is not an option. Like any other electronic device that runs on a battery, an AED battery depletes overtime. In addition, electrode pads expire after approximately 2 years. Regular maintenance checks on devices are required to keep an AED in compliance.

Maintenance is facilitated when the AED is constantly visible and accessible. The machines are designed to make alerts when batteries or electrodes are running out of useful life. Accessibility ensures that the machine will be monitored, but most importantly be readily available to any lay responder in the face of a cardiac crisis.

In the case of Wes Leonard, the device was removed from the wall and made inaccessible due to students tampering with the device. Students and staff should be equally informed of the lifesaving capabilities an AED delivers. If young people are better educated to the purpose of an AED they will be more apt to leave it alone. Better knowledge of AEDs can mean the difference between life and death.

Looking back to March 3, 2011 Wes Leonard was one of about 1,000 others in the U.S. that day to die of sudden cardiac arrest. The cure is simple defibrillation. However, the AED alone will not save a life. Maintenance, Accessibility, and Education will better prepare the common person to save a life.

For more information about Wes Leonard check out the Sports Illustrated Link:

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ROI of an AED

Keith Hildebrandt

Commonly, Return on Investment (ROI) is used to calculate the value of a newly proposed project for a business, church or school. ROI takes into account the earning power of an investment and compares it to the cost. However, the return of some investments are not measured in dollars, but in the ability to save a life.

Let’s consider the capital gains of saving the life of a beloved family member or friend. For instance, if you are attending your child’s basketball game in a local public school, and in an instant the coach falls to the ground in cardiac arrest. What do you do now?


  • Call 911 Emergency Services
  • Begin CPR
  • Retrieve the AED in the school
  • Apply the AED pads and defibrillate the patient
  • Await medical professionals

Approximately 3,000 Americans a day fall victim to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. But, by investing in an AED, you may benefit by saving a life.

A few fundraising ideas to consider to help fund your AED implementation program:

  1. Ask 70 members of your church or school for a $20 donation. Explain how the funds will be used for an AED. Track the progress of your fundraiser in a public area. Offer to demonstrate the AED to all people that have generously donated.
  2. Have members of your school or congregation donate items they no longer need to a Community Garage Sale. Use the proceeds to buy an AED. Hold a training to encourage everyone to understand the benefits.
  3. Sponsor a date night for parents and charge for babysitting.



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