Hospital Defibrillators: AHA Admits Old Models Outperform New

Hospitals considering upgrading to newer technology-based defibrillators should heed this report in LA Times in which the American Heart Association(AHA) admits its recommendation back in 2000 to move to more sophisticated defibrillators with an automated function was not based on enough evidence.  Subsequent evidence has suggested that the move has not yet worked, older generation defibrillator use not seemingly adversely affecting patient survival… in fact the opposite as recent research suggests that as many as 1000 patients a year have not been saved by the newer versions when they would have been by the older generation devices.

The LA Times article can be found here.  In an excerpt it states:

In crafting the recommendation, the (AHA) committee acknowledged that research had not yet proved that the new devices improved survival rates for hospital patients. Instead, committee members said, they relied mainly on evidence that the simpler version of the new devices — often known as automated external defibrillators, or AEDs — saved lives in public settings such as airports. The committee even scolded hospital administrators for failing to stock up on the new defibrillators.

Purchases of the devices zoomed after the guidelines were released. U.S. hospitals bought close to 100,000 of the basic automated models from 2000 to 2010, according to the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

So what’s going on?  Well it seems reliability issues are the core of the problem with devices frequently failing or simply not turning on, which has reportedly resulted in tens of thousand of the units being recalled by manufacturers.

Added to this is the problem that so called “hands-off” time between shocks is longer for automated devices, meaning again a delay in administering the necessary stimuli.

Companies are reportedly working with FDA to improve the safety of these devices.

medlatest will watch this space.

Source: LA Times