Sure to Shock: ECRI Institute's Defibrillator Checklists

April 1, 2011 | Evaluations & Guidance

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****Defibrillators play a critical role in many life-threatening cardiac episodes, and their use can make a difference in whether a patient survives or not. Failure of a defibrillator during such an event may result in the death of a patient who could have been saved. Such failures are considered by ECRI Institute to be one of the top 10 health technology hazards for 2011 (see the article in our November 2010 issue).

It is possible to reduce these and other adverse events by conducting routine visual and operational checks and documenting those actions by means of user checklists. Two of our Hazard Reports in the past few years have demonstrated the importance of such checks in detecting problems, such as hardware failures and incorrect cable connections, that could prevent or delay defibrillation therapy (May 2009; August 2009).

For external manual defibrillators, ECRI Institute recommends completing visual checks at least daily and performing discharge tests at least weekly. For automated external defibrillators (AEDs), we recommend checking the status indicator at least...

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