We answer some of the frequently asked questions on electrode pads.
We hope that by sharing our knowledge on how electrode pads work and the importance of pad placement, we encourage people to become comfortable with defibrillators and confident when placing electrodes.
Where to place electrode pads?
To provide efficient treatment to someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, defibrillation pads must be placed in a certain position to allow an electric current to travel correctly through the body.
The first electrode pad should be placed gel adhesive face down on the top right chest, just below the collarbone (clavicle) and the second placed bottom left chest below the heart. When the pads are placed, you should see there is an imaginary line formed between the pads and through the heart – this is where the electric will pass through the muscle.
A defibrillator rescue kit contains vital accessories to assist in you with providing treatment. You may need to dry the chest if it is wet or shave the chest if it is too hairy so that the electrode pads will stick to the skin..
If you are placing a life-saving defibrillator in an environment with children, having paediatric pads as part of your first aid kit is essential. When using paediatric pads, they should be placed slightly different to adult pads.
Pad one goes on the centre of the child's chest and the second pad is to be placed on the centre of the child's back. This ensures that the child receives essential treatment at a softer and more suitable level.
How to use electrode pads?
Most electrode pads come pre connected to the defibrillator unit. Once you have located the pads, there will be bold diagram on each pad to remind you where to the place the electrode.
Once the pads are placed, they begin to analyse the heart rhythm and the feedback will be analysed by the defibrillator to determine if treatment is necessary. If the defibrillator detects that the patient is in either of the two shock-able rhythms, VF (ventricular fibrillation) or VT (ventricular tachycardia), treatment will be provided.
In the event of needing to use a defibrillator on a child, you will need to either switch the electrode pads from adult to paediatric prior to application or, on certain defibrillator models with paediatric functionality, switch the device from adult to paediatric mode via a paediatric key or a switch/button on the device.
This ensures that the joule output provided by the defibrillator is reduced from 150j to a child friendly 50j. However, if you don’t have paediatric pads as part of your first aid kit or the defibrillator does not have a switch – do not hesitate in using the adult electrodes on a child.
How long do electrode pads last?
Most defibrillator electrodes have an approximate shelf life of around 2 years. This varies between different defibrillator makes and models. When you receive your defibrillator electrodes, they come with a date so that you know when to replace them.
Unfortunately, all electrode pads are single use only, which is why we always recommend that you have a spare set available for in the event of an emergency.
We offer a FREE pad and battery reminder service so that you get ample warning before they expire.
How to clean electrode pads?
Unfortunately, if electrode pads become damaged or dirty during the rescue process, they will not be able to provide adequate treatment to someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest.
The adhesive gel used to attach the pads is extremely strong, making it very easy to get dirt stuck to the pads. It is always a good idea to have a spare set of pads to hand.
Electrode Pads Troubleshooting
Q: Should electrodes/defibrillator be used if the person is pregnant?
A: Yes, if a person has suffered a cardiac arrest, the only chance of survival they have is with a defibrillator, whether they are pregnant or not.
Q: How should electrodes be stored?
A: if you have preconnected electrode pads then they should be attached to the defibrillator and stored in either the back or front pocket depending on the unit. For spare electrodes, ensure they remain sealed in their packet/casing until required to preserve their condition.
Q: Can electrodes be used in the rain?
A: Yes, their super sticky adhesive will ensure the pads stick to the patient, but where possible you should try to ensure that the patient is dry and not lay in water/puddle when using a defibrillator.
defibshop are committed to equipping everyone with the skills and knowledge to save a life. Speak to one of our Product Specialists on 0161 776 7422 or fill out our Contact Form.