Defibrillator pads are a critical component in the operation of an AED. Their main function is to transfer a therapeutic dose of electrical energy created in the defibrillator to the chest of someone in cardiac arrest.
Inside the pads are electrodes that have two functions, the first is to pick up the electrical rhythm of the heart to be analyzed by the AED which determines whether or not the heart needs defibrillation. The second function is to deliver the energy to the patient’s heart thereby stopping any cardiac dysrhythmia (abnormal electrical activity in the heart).
The pads are composed of multiple layers of materials that help the electrodes ensure a proper connection to the chest. To prevent burning and ensure good contact between the electrodes and the chest they also have a layer of either petroleum or lanolin based gel. In some cases AED pads come in different sizes to accommodate the difference in body size between adults and children.
Because the gel hardens and crystallizes over time and with exposure to air, these pads need to be kept in their sealed container and replaced after the expiry date.
At this time manufacturers are unable to recycle these pads and so they must be thrown in the trash.
Contact your vendor to order new AED pads.