Ask HRC: Pediatric Defibrillation and AEDs

June 28, 2007 | Health System Risk Management


An HRC member recently asked us to clarify whether automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can be used on pediatric patients. In its 2000 guidelines on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the American Heart Association recommended that AEDs not be used on patients younger than 8 years old out of concern that the shock delivered would be harmful to the young patients. (American Heart Association "Guidelines 2000")

By 2003, however, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) recommended that AEDs could be used on patients ages 1 to 8. The guidelines recommend that, whenever possible, rescuers use defibrillators that are capable of attenuating the energy delivered so that it is appropriate for a child. If a defibrillator that has child pads and delivers a "child" dose of energy is not available, however, rescuers should use a regular device. (Samson RA et al.; ECRI Institute "Clarifying") In 2005, the American Heart Association its updated CPR guidelines to match the ILCOR statement. (American Heart...

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