External defibrillators in the healthcare setting

By: November 18th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the design for external defibrillators will improve through a program to promote safe defibrillators.

External defibrillators are life saving devices used when people suffer from cardiac arrest, though according to The Los Angeles Times, they don’t always work properly.

According to the FDA, 28,000 reports have been filed in the last five years due to external defibrillators failure or the recalling of the devices by manufacturers.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the FDA has observed and identified some of the problems associated with the defibrillators. One problem is an engineering issue that allows a voltage-monitoring circuit to take power from the source it monitors. This defect could cause the device to be unable to give a shock. The FDA found that when manufacturers repair small problems in the machines, they don’t always notify users of the changes made, according to the LA Times.

OSHA’s website recommends the use of external defibrillators and notes that in 2001 and 2002, 6,628 workplace fatalities were reported to OSHA, claiming 60% could be saved if the external defibrillators were available at that moment.

The majority of sudden cardiac deaths are said to occur outside of the hospital, and according to OSHA, 5% or less of the cardiac arrest victims are successfully resuscitated and let out of the hospital alive.

With an external defibrillator placed properly in the workplace, the chances of cardiac arrest patients surviving are increased, according to OSHA.  OSHA also states that external defibrillators should come with a training process which lets healthcare staff distinguish a cardiac arrest, while teaching them how to perform CPR, how to provide early defibrillation, and how to care for the cardiac arrest patient.

What standards does your healthcare facility have regarding external defibrillators? Let us know in our comment section.


By Lynnette Sartor on March 28th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

How do we know if the defibrillator in our office is defective if the manufacturer is not notifying us.


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