If you’ve had any experiences with automated external defibrillators (AEDs), then you’ll know that they need to be kept in good working condition at all times. The last thing you need is to have a malfunctioning AED during a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) episode. Among the maintenance procedures necessary to keep them in good working order, ensuring that their electrode pads are always functional is key. For more information visit this link https://aedadvantage.ca/shop/electrodes. This guide explains the importance of these pads and why they need to be kept up to date.
What are Electrode Pads?
To perform their key function, AEDs need to have an attachment point that can be hooked to the victims of SCA. Electrode pads provide this attachment point.
An electrode pad is a thin plate, usually made of metal, that’s encased in a plastic covering on one side and a metallic adhesive gel on the other. These pads come with wires through which they can be hooked into the AED device.
The metallic adhesive gel aids the defibrillator as it analyzes a victim’s heart rhythm to determine if an electric shock is necessary. Additionally, this gel helps to close the airspace between the pad and the skin, a crucial thing when it comes to preventing skin burns.
All such characteristics ensure that the electrode pads can deliver the required electric shock during an SCA emergency. For adults, this shock is typically between 120 to 200 joules.
Why Keep Electrode Pads Up to Date?
Given the function of electrode pads, they must always be kept in good working condition.
However, electrode pads have an expiration date. This is usually between 18 and 30 months from the day they’re installed. This means that keeping them up to date is crucial for saving SCA victims.
One of the major reasons for this expiration is the gel used in the pads. The gel is a chemical compound. With time, its chemical composition will begin to break down as it dries out. This, of course, means that it can no longer perform its functions well. This breakdown process happens by about the 30th month hence the expiration.
The importance of ensuring properly-functioning electrode pads cannot be overstated. Like other crucial components of an AED, they help ensure that SCA victims receive the appropriate resuscitation. The difference between life and death during an SCA emergency could be seconds. Having an AED with electrode pads that aren’t fully functioning could mean wasting precious moments trying to fix it, much to the detriment of the SCA victim.
What Affects Electrode Pad Functions?
Keeping AED electrode pads up to date is just one piece of the puzzle. Knowing things that can affect its functions is equally important. For example, an SCA victim with a hairy chest may not benefit much from an AED. This is because the electrode pads won’t be able to do their job well.
The delivery of an electric shock to stabilize the heart rhythm of an SCA victim relies on good electrical conduction from the AED to the heart. The electrode pad is a crucial conduit in this process. A hairy chest means that the electrode pads will not have the necessary skin contact. This will make the electric shock flow across the chest surface instead of into it. This is in addition to the risk of the AED device becoming combustible. The solution is to always shave the victim’s chest as fast as possible. Most AEDs come equipped with a kit that includes a razor blade for a quick shave.
Of course, articles of clothing must always be torn off a victim’s chest quickly before attaching AED electrode pads. That’s why the scissors are also part of the accompanying AED kit.
Having a moist skin surface is also another factor that impacts the effectiveness of AED electrode pads. Much like a hairy chest, a moist one makes it difficult for the electrode pads to achieve the kind of skin contact necessary for a proper electric shock delivery. A moist chest surface can cause the electric current to move across the skin instead of into the chest.
In addition to ensuring the SCA victim has a dry chest, ensure that they’re not in or around a puddle of water or any other wet surfaces. This is especially crucial for people who experience SCA in places like swimming pools.
Ultimately, you want to do everything possible to ensure that your AED electrode pads are fully functional at all times. This means checking its expiration date during routine AED maintenance procedures. This could be crucial when faced with an SCA victim.