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Warning over defibrillators with faulty battery connection

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Nurses and other healthcare workers have been warned by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency about a technical fault involving some public access defibrillators.

They have been advised to check if they have the defibrillator model LIFEPAK 1000 Automatic External Defibrillators.

“It is vital they operate correctly when needed in an emergency”

John Wilkinson

A technical fault with some of them means they may not deliver an electric shock to the heart to someone who is in cardiac arrest, said the MHRA in a medical device alert on 18 May.

The issue could potentially affect all LIFEPAK 1000 devices, of which there are 10,068 devices in the UK.

The devices are available in public places such as schools, as well as hospitals, clinics and ambulances.

They are often known as public access defibrillators, as they are intended to be used by anyone.

The manufacturer’s logo on the front cover may vary, displaying Medtronic or Physio-Control, noted the MHRA.

It added that the device’s manufacturer, Physio-Control, had sent a safety alert to people with affected defibrillators with instructions for action.

The fault is due to intermittent connection between the battery and device contacts because of wear and subsequent corrosion between both components. It could fail to deliver a shock to resuscitate a patient.

It is important that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed by completing and returning the confirmation sheet immediately, highlighted the MHRA.

People should check that the serial number listed in their confirmation sheet matches the serial number on the label located on the back of the device.

If the device powers off unexpectedly, either during inspection or during patient treatment, they are advised to immediately remove and reinstall your existing battery to restore power to the device.

“People who are responsible for them should carry out the checks recommended by the manufacturer”

John Wilkinson

If power is not restored, they should replace the battery with a spare battery and call Physio-Control immediately to arrange for servicing of your device.

The MHRA stated that it was “important to implement a weekly schedule of battery removal and reinstallation” for all LIFEPAK 1000 devices until contacted by Physio‐Control to arrange repair.

“Removing and reinstalling the battery on a weekly basis will help make sure your device is ready for use. It is also important to always carry a fully charged spare battery,” said the MHRA.

It added that, as part of the maintenance and testing schedule, both the battery well and battery contacts of the defibrillator should be inspected, especially if the devices have been exposed to vibrations or the battery has been installed for an extended period without being removed.

John Wilkinson, MHRA’s director of medical devices, said: “These devices deliver life-saving treatment and it is vital they operate correctly when needed in an emergency.

“People who are responsible for them should carry out the checks recommended by the manufacturer,” he added.

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