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How Do I Choose the Best Defibrillator Tester?

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  • Written By: Mal Baxter
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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A defibrillator tester provides essential precautionary service to the lifesaving technologies of defibrillators; these are the devices used during cardiac arrests that deliver an electric shock designed to restore heartbeat irregularity, or arrhythmia, to regular rhythm. Defibrillators come in several types, including internal pacemakers, easy-to-use consumer-grade units called automatic external defibrillators (AED), and specialized medical equipment. Testers may accommodate either a certain type or operate across all levels of the technology. To choose the best defibrillator tester for your needs, consider the versatility and range of tests you need it to perform, and on which defibrillator equipment; also determine the learning curve to use it, its accuracy, and costs.

Smaller testers are simple battery load testers and dischargers. These small components might insert into an electrode connector and cause the unit to deliver a test shock. This can aid in determining whether a defibrillator is functioning properly and whether the battery possesses enough charge or needs replacement. Some defibrillators sit for a long time standing by; maintaining healthy battery status is of paramount importance and helps ensure machine performance during an emergency.

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Larger defibrillator tester equipment might be designed to test internal and external defibrillator types. These testers come in varying degrees of durability and portability. Case construction and size may factor into your choice if the unit is to be carried into the field. Some may provide integrated handles or carrying straps. Whether a seller offers a service warranty or technical support may prove a vital condition.

Some units may offer simple control interfaces — for example, circuit testers, or simple analog or digital readouts. More complex defibrillator tester units may feature numerous controls or larger readout displays. They may support metal pads on which to place the defibrillator pads to measure their electrical capacities. Numerous tests and loads are permitted with higher-quality equipment. These might include selectable amplitudes and rates, various performance waveforms, and measures of energy; in addition, they may analyze peak voltages and currents, and cardioversion synchronization, or cardio sync.

Units may differ in the number and types of waveforms they are capable of processing; some may include monophasic, biphasic, pulse-phasic, trapezoidal, and more. They may support a given number of ohm settings and variable heart-rate simulations measured in beats per minute (BPM). Rechargeable batteries extend their service. The accuracy of their measurements is also a vital factor for consideration.

Determine the extent of testing you require to compare values; in some cases, it may be possible to purchase higher-quality, used equipment rather than a new unit at a given price. Simplicity of use is important, and time and personnel costs for training on complex equipment should be considered. Multiple inputs for electrocardiograph (ECG) simulations can allow a unit to operate on numerous makes of defibrillator. Some defibrillator tester units may provide software to assist in standardizing evaluations and to analyze and document tests.

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