By:FF/P Robert Balkun, FF/P Tom Corrone, and Lt. Frank Ricci City of New Haven Fire Department
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Know your Equipment
Failure to be aware of your service’s medical capabilities and equipment can lead to a reduced quality of care in respect to cardiac arrest care in pediatric patients.
In departments that provide both basic and advanced life support services, personnel need to remain aware of the differences in equipment when delivering electrical defibrillation to pediatric patients.
Most AED manufacturers now make both pads for ALS and BLS. These BLS pediatric AED cables can be easily confused with pediatric therapy electrodes for ALS care. To the left are AED pediatric cables manufactured by Physiocontrol.
AED pediatric electrodes have a built in resistor in the cables, reducing the amount of joules provided from an adult setting (typically 200J) to an dosage appropriate for a pediatric patient; cables for ALS monitors like the Lifepak 15’s do not have this built-in resistor.
Defibrillation electrical settings are weight-based for pediatric patients in reference to advanced care, allowing ALS providers to change defibrillation settings via their monitor to the correct amount therefore not requiring this resistor in the cables.
On the packages to these therapy cables, it does state these ALS cables should not be utilized on AED’s, but if providers are not aware of the differences, this can be easily missed.
Refer to your services EMS director and/or local protocols for recommendations and how this may affect care in your service area.