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Recommendations about defibrillators

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What external defibrillator to buy | Protected Cardio Spaces

What happens when we want to buy a defibrillator for our community of neighbors, school, town hall or company? 

Usually we are not familiar with these devices, we do not know how they work, which brands are the most pioneering or what features they have as well as the needs that we have to satisfy.

In the end, the vast majority of people opt for one or the other based on the purchase price, the aesthetic aspect of the device or familiarity with the brand, somewhat arbitrary criteria that in another product may be totally valid, but perhaps in the DESA should be combined with other more concrete:

1.- Brand prestige.

As with any product, a well-known and solvent brand is always a guarantee of quality, but most of us are not familiar with these brands because we speak, in general, of companies specialized in medical equipment and defibrillators for health personnel with a line of non-sanitary external defibrillators or companies that have developed almost exclusively these products.
Companies that have been manufacturing medical equipment and technology for a long time are usually those that have the most modern and updated defibrillators, as they apply their experience in the field of manual sanitary defibrillators for the development of non-medical ones. Among the brands with the best technology we would find the US ZOLL and Physio Control, the Japanese Nihon Kohden or the Korean CU Medical Systems.

 2.- Generation of the defibrillator.

 This refers to the number of previous models that have been in the market to find the current one.

 The fact that there have been several predecessors means that we are dealing with a company that believes in continuous improvement, that researches to obtain the best results and that reviews its products to give the customer the best available technology.

 In addition, it assures us that we acquire a current product whose useful life is extended with respect to one that, when acquired, is almost obsolete.
Any company will say if the model has undergone modifications with respect to the previous version, if any, and how long the model has been on the market.

3.- Ease of use.

The semiautomatic defibrillators are designed so that anyone without training, can be a lifeguard if it is necessary to use one of them, so a priori all are easy to use.
Everyone has a voice that guides the rescuer through the steps to be taken, but some also have more support as a screen than marking the steps to follow or help during the CPR.

We must bear in mind that when someone suffers a cardiac arrest they are moments of nerves and tension, so the ease of use of the device, the intuitiveness and all the help that the device will play in favor of achieving an optimal rescue.

 5.- Lightness and possible transport of the device.

 The weight of the defibrillators, as well as the dimensions, is usually quite light (between about 2 and 4 kg) in such a way that they can move to the scene of the event with agility but with enough size to remain stable during use.

If we constantly move on foot with the defibrillator, this will be a factor to take into account to avoid overfatigue of the person who charges it, but if the defibrillator is going to remain fixed in one place (such as a closet, showcase or vehicle) and it will only be removed from its fixed place for use, this factor should not be decisive, also taking into account that a product with greater weight and size (within the limits we are talking about) will give more security to the lifeguard by perceiving it, without realize, as more robust and reliable.

6.- Ease of maintenance.

The maintenance of defibrillators should not be complicated. Ideally perform a self-check to ensure they are in perfect condition and should only require review once a year as a precautionary measure, after each use and if it is necessary to update something based on the rules of RCP European

7.- Expiration, price and availability of spare parts.

The easy availability of the spare parts is a fundamental criterion that will lengthen the years of use of your defibrillator, so to acquire a defibrillator that can be withdrawn from the market or from a brand that is not solvent or unknown can cause that, when the change of spare parts, do not have access to them or their availability is delayed indefinitely in time, making your defibrillator unusable.
The price and expiration of the spare parts should also be another criterion to consider; Sometimes a defibrillator will seem to have a very competitive price, but the change of patches and batteries may mean an outlay of even the 50% of the price of the defibrillator, which in the medium and long term will mean a very high extra cost. We can establish in this sense an analogy with home printers when the price of ink cartridges is so high that it is sometimes easier to acquire another printer, but understanding that the price of an AED is not that of one of these printers and that In addition, this consumerism is not the most advisable for the care of our environment.

We must also bear in mind that the patches must be changed after each use, and that the battery, if used, is also greatly shortened its useful life and may even need to be changed if many discharges have been applied, so, although the useful life of a spare can be 2, 3 or 5 years, the chance can cause that, in case of use, we are forced to change it more often.
The price of these spare parts should not be more than one 10-15% of the price of the defibrillator.

8.- Adult-pediatric modality. 

We can generalize that all AEDs have adult and pediatric modalities, understanding as pediatric use in children under 7-8 years and 25 kg in weight.

In some the patches will be the same for both uses and will be in the defibrillator where we should change the modality to adult or pediatric depending on the patient we have.

In other AEDs, we must change the patches by installing the adult or pediatric patches and based on that the device itself will recognize the patient to defibrillate.

In principle it is always recommended to have adult patches pre-connected because even in an educational center, the probability that the stop occurs in an adult is always greater, but pediatric patches should always be next to the defibrillator in case the change has to be made.

Since this change is made in 10-15 seconds, it does not make an important difference one way or another except in exceptional cases where there are children with known heart problems.

9.- Other technical criteria.

Although health personnel are probably the first thing they look at, in general, the rest of the people will be unaware of the technical benefits that a DESA offers us. Since it is a long topic that we will leave for another entry, only to highlight that the most important things will be the programmed energy or discharge, which is the energy that the device will supply to the patient to stop the arrhythmia and thus make the cardiac massage effective . These shocks can vary between 150 and 300 J in adults and are usually 50 J in pediatric mode. 

 If you have any doubt when choosing a defibrillator do not hesitate to ask us, we will be happy to help you.

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Installation of external defibrillators, maintenance, spare parts, repairs, training and use of the defibrillator, registration in Autonomous Communities.

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