Keep your heart safe this Christmas and New Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but as you are probably aware, also the most stressful!  During Christmas, it is often difficult to find time to relax with so much to do and think about.

Festive and social commitments, rushing around and last-minute shopping can place a real struggle on the heart.

In December, deaths caused by cardiovascular disease soar by 8%, compared to the second riskier month, November.  More cardiovascular deaths are recorded on Christmas Day than on any other day of the year, followed by Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Stress, family problems and excess consumption of food and drink are among the topmost factors responsible for cardiovascular failures during the Christmastime.  During the Christmas period, it is important to pay particular attention to the types and amounts of food and drink consumed and vitally important not to postpone calling the doctor if you experience any heart attack symptoms.  The change in usual daily routines during Christmas often leads to people forgetting to take prescribed medications, this again can contribute to cardiovascular problems in some cases.

Potential factors that could lead to increased cardiovascular problems during Christmastime:

  • An excess of fatty and sugary food, higher volumes of alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise
  • Putting off calling the doctor rather than spoil the festivities
  • Emotional and financial stress

Recommendations for keeping your heart healthy:

  • Try to eat healthy and limit alcohol intake, try drinking one glass of water for each glass of alcohol – water is filling, has no calories or side effects and will dilute the excess alcohol
  • Keep active – go for a walk after Christmas meals, keep to your regular workout plan or do some other exercises at home
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Avoid family confrontations which may cause stress


Don’t Be Afraid of AED’s!!

Aaaarrrggghhh!!!! What do I do with it ?

All AED’s are user friendly, they will speak to you as soon as you switch them on and guide you through the whole resuscitation process.  Some will even guide you through CPR until the ambulance arrives.

Below is an extract from the most recent AED guidelines from the Resuscitation Council (UK), the full guidelines can be found on their website, along with lots of other useful AED and resuscitation information :

 ‘’It is the view of the Resuscitation Council (UK) that the use of AEDs should NOT be restricted to trained personnel. Furthermore, the Resuscitation Council (UK) considers that it is inappropriate to display notices to the effect that only trained personnel should use the devices, or to restrict their use in other ways. Such restrictions are against the interests of victims of cardiac arrest, and discourage the greater use of AEDs by members of the public who may be able to preserve life and assist victims of cardiac arrest. This confirms similar advice from the British Heart Foundation.’’

Sneak Preview: Physio Control Lifepak CR2

Today seen at the Emergency Services Show in Birmingham and from tomorrow on show at the ERC conference in Reykjavik; the new Physio Control Lifepak CR2 AED. The latest addition to Physio Controls impressive line of AEDs. Physio Control is awaiting CE approval, then the big distribution of this public defibrillator, making it available to a larger audience.

We watched the demonstration of the CR2 and can inform you that the AED is practically the same as it’s predecessor, the main change being the colour. It is compact, with a white plastic lid and a black carry-handle. The status indicator displays a bright green flashing light, visible at the front of the AED. The device starts directly on opening and the electrodes are released by pulling on the clearly visible red handle. The shock electrodes are firmly attached to the AED by a tape. On opening the AED, you see four buttons: a language selection button, the on/off button, a child resuscitation button and finally, a shock button.

Currently only available as a semi-automatic, there will be a fully-automatic available. The price of the CR2 is not yet known, but is expected to be slightly above its predecessor the CRplus.

The Lifepak CR2 comes with an 8 year warranty. The battery and shock electrodes have a 4 year shelf-life before they require replacing. The water and dust resistance is set at IP55 which means the AED can compete with the best. Voice prompts from the Lifepak CR2 are quite extensive compared to other AEDs: it vocally announces the depth of chest compression as an aid to the rescuer. The shock protocol is the same as the other Lifepak AEDs, up to a maximum of 360 Joules.

Physio Control has developed an app simultaneously with the release of the Lifepak CR2, aimed at helping to manage AEDs. This app, which can be used in a range of browsers, allows an organization, different AEDs can monitor easily. The CR2 Lifepak AEDs can be connected to the database via Wi-Fi or mobile data (optional), whereby an alert can be sent when an AED is removed, opened or when an audit is needed.

Facts concerning CPR and AEDs in General

Every year, nearly 600.000 people die from heart diseases so, nowadays, everyone should be aware of how to act in emergency situations. Underneath, some facts about CPR as well as AEDs are presented:

  1. ­­CPR does not restart a heart. Rather, it physically pumps blood through the heart and empowers oxygen to reach the brain. This is totally imperative for someone encountering heart failure. It is stated, that if CPR is regulated instantly, it doubles or even triples the casualty’s rate of survival.
  2. Both CPR and AEDs are sheltered. It is certain, that a person cannot hurt someone by doing mouth-to-mouth.
  3. An AED will regulate a stun for two sorts of unusual heart rhythms: ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.
  4. AEDs are so natural and easy to use, that even a third-grader can utilize one – literally. An AED will guide you through every stride as well as figure out if a stun is required. It is that simple!
  5. The survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is under 5%. This is because of restricted AED approachability.
  6. For consistently that goes without defibrillation, survival diminishes by 7-10%.
  7. Sudden cardiac arrest happens frequently in the home (57%-75%), which majority of times are unequipped with an AED.
  8. An AED electrodes gather data about the heart’s rhythm and convey the stun for the AED.

Poor maintenance makes AED defibrillators unreliable

maintenance-01Heart-defibrillator maintenance leaves much to be desired. The largest suppliers of resuscitation-devices have issued a warning. Last Tuesday a woman in Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands narrowly escaped death when an AED failed.

High costs and ignorance are the cause of many Automated External Defibrillators being poorly maintained. Owners install a lifesaving shock device in their home, but they forget about it, observes one of the country’s largest suppliers, Medisol.

The reasoning usually behind this is that customers, having just spent on average £ 1,000,=, feel secure. “This however will not be of much help in the event of a life-threatening heart event.”, notes Anne-Marieke Wieman of Medisol.

Free inspection

Medisol held a campaign a year ago to inspect their customers’ totally free of charge. About half of the devices inspected displayed some defect. Often the defibrillation pads had ceased to operate (lifetime: 2 years) or the batteries were depleted (lifetime: four years). The cause is often lack of awareness, but high maintenance costs also contribute to customers’ unwillingness to pay. “The annual fee for a maintenance service contract varies from £ 59 to 99 per annum. Only 50 procent of Medisol’s customers conclude such a contract, generally the least expensive”. 

Excessive exposure to moisture

maintenance-02With the risk that victims cannot be helped quickly enough. This happened last Tuesday while a woman was in cardiac arrest in a shopping centre in the Dutch city Bergen op Zoom. A nurse who was at the scene proceeded with CPR and shop employees rushed to a community centre to collect an AED defibrillator. In the meantime the police had arrived and had taken over the resuscitation, but couldn’t get the AED to operate. It transpired later that the AED had been installed at a location where it was exposed to excess moisture.
Despite this the woman survived and is still in hospital. Her son Michel Wiegeraad finds  it “ridiculous” that the AED defibrillator couldn’t do its job. “Such a thing should just work. AED’s should really have a label like fire extinguishers do. They should also be subject to mandatory annual inspection. This ended on a happy note, but if my mother had died, I’d have lived on with the question: What would have happened if that AED defibrillator had simply worked “?

The Inspection of the Healthcare Council had already in 2013 raised the alarm after receiving several reports from suppliers on failing AED’s. In all instances the electrical stimulus needed had failed to materialize “with in some cases fatal consequences for the patient.” On that occasion the Council asked manufacturers to send a letter to the users drawing their attention to the need for preventive maintenance.


The owner – many individuals like shopkeepers and sports club owners – is responsible for maintenance and replacement of parts. If the battery needs to be replaced, most devices will beep or a led-light will blink. But you will hardly notice that if you store the AED defibrillator in a carrier case in a place where only a few people come.’

This translation is based on an article that appeared in the Dutch National Newspaper AD, written by Heleen Boex / Hanneke van Houweling on 01/09/16 – 04:20.

The Medisol Service Centre

The Medisol Service Centre can offer you two kinds of maintenance service to ensure that your defibrillator is always ready for use.
The Standard Service guarantees continuity. If the AED has been deployed, has a malfunction or has been stolen, a rental-AED will be supplied within 24 hours and we shall ensure that your AED is once again in service at very short notice.

The Extra Service guarantees, as well as continuity, an annual inspection of your AED accompanied by a certificate of approval. This latter confirms that your AED is being properly maintaind. The maintenance is carried out according to the standards of the European Defibrillator Certification Institute. For more information please refer to The service provided is intended for companies that have an AED available as part of their emergency services.

Standard Service
We shall inform you in good time when your AED needs new batteries and electrode pads. You will also be informed  when the manufacturer issues a software update for your AED.

24/7 phone access for reporting a malfunction, emergency use of  the AED and theft of your AED.  When reported before 16:00 hours during working days, you will receive a rental-AED the following day and your AED will be collected.


Our Standard Service is as follows;

  • After deployment of the AED:

         Adaption of your AED, replacement of batteries and electrode pads

         Reading out of ECG data

         Evaluating proper functioning of the AED

         On request transmission of the ECG data to the cardiologist involved

         On request answering questions from the users about the deployment

  • In case of failure:

         When possible, resolution of the malfunction by our own technical department

         Submission to/arrangement with the manufacturer / importer

         Independent advice on repairing or buying a new AED

         Rental AED may be retained during the repair period

  • In case of theft:

         You will receive an offer for a new AED

         The rented AED may be retained up to 1 month

The Standard Service costs  GBP 65,=.

Extra Service

In addition to the Standard Service guarantees the Extra Service also includes an annual inspection of the AED on site. The AED performance is measured using an an external test device. Electrodes and batteries will be replaced according to the maintenance schedule and any software updates available will also be installed.

Extra Service overview:

  • Annual audit by our technician at your location (by appointment) consisting of:

         Performing the security test with an external test device

         Check of battery,  electrodes and replacement by schedule

         Installation, when available, of new software.

         AED approval sticker on the AED with associated certificate.

The AED must be available for inspection during office hours. You will receive a week in advance notice on what day the mechanic will visit your location. In the above mentioned services the costs for electrodes, batteries, costs that will be charged by the manufacturer for updated software and repair of a defect (which is not covered under warranty) are not included. Prices include call-out / delivery charges and VAT.

The Extra service is available for £ 100,=.

Please contact for the registration form


Medisol/AEDexpert will be in Prague for the ERC congress Resuscitation 2015 from the 29th until the 31ste of October. This particular ERC congress is important because the new CPR reanimation guidelines for the next 5 years will be presented here. This could also be the moment to meet up with business associates to expand collaboration. Especially now, when the eyes of the AED world are all focused on Prague.

Will you be there? We are looking forward in meeting you. If you wish to make an appointment, please contact Customer Service, phone number + 44 (0) 1223-790124.

We’ll keep you posted on this page.

AED Maintenance Contract

Available very soon at Medisol,  the AED Maintenance Contract

The Medisol Service Centre can then offer you a maintenance service contract for your AED’s.
This service will be available in your area from autumn 2015.

The advantages are:

  • 24/7 phone access for reporting a malfunction
  • Trade Service at fault
  • A replacement AED will be available before 12 a.m the next day
  • Timely replacement of electrode pads and batteries
  • Annual inspection of your AED on location
  • Certainty: you will always have an operating AED
  • Inspection according to the AED label guidelines

If you are interested in this service? Please register by e-mail to be the first to know when more information is available.

Children and circulatory arrest

When a small child (<25 kg) has a circulatory arrest, this usually has a different starting cause than a fibrillating heart. Examples of this are:

The right treatment in this case is:
-dial 999 or 112
-start CPR

Because it is not always clear what caused the circulatory arrest the AED unit will always have to be brought.
If a victim weighs less than 25 kg the use of child pads is recommended but not required.

Reasons for using child pads are:
-the AED uses a special child-database for the heart analysis (that is because the regular heart rhythm of a small child is faster or even much faster than for an adult);
-the surge of the AED will revert from 150 Joule to 50 to 80 Joule.

The adjustment of the database, protocol and Joules varies per brand. This document is based on the Philips AED’s

Reasons not to use child pads are:
-having to change electrodes in the middle of a panic situation, which can lead to delays.
-A child key or switch button can be a solution;
-the AED can also be used with adults’ electrodes for use on children who weigh less than 25kg.
-The Dutch Resuscitation Council writes in the currently applicable guidelines: Standard AEDs may also be used for defibrillation of infants and children if there is no custom AED available for them.
-with children under 25kg circulatory arrest in which fibrillation is the cause is less than 5x a year.

It is better for a child to use child pads, but in emergencies the standard AED should be used.

Remark: for children under 25kg the pads will have to be patched in a different way. See the picture below (one electrode pad on the rear between the shoulder blades and one electrode pad on the breastbone between the nipples: The hands should in this case be placed on the electrode pads during resuscitation).

SADS UK’s Big Shock Campaign.


SADS UK’s Big Shock Campaign, urging the Government to bring in legislation to make defibrillators mandatory in schools, is presenting an 8,000 signature to Downing Street.

On Thursday, June 20,  SADS UK West Midlands representatives Robert and Maggie Prentice from Redditch, West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), London Ambulance Service, and Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, will join Anne and John Jolly, founders of the cardiac charity SADS UK, to hand over the petition to No 10.

It is estimated that 270 cardiac arrests occur in UK schools annually, which compelled SADS UK  to launch ‘The Big Shock Campaign’ a nationwide initiative to make defibrillators available on school premises to save lives.

Anne Jolly said: “Applying the defibrillator as soon as possible when a person goes into cardiac arrest gives them the best chance of surviving. All schools must have fire extinguishers, but the chance of someone dying from a fire at the school is far less likely than a person dying from cardiac arrest. This lifesaving equipment is absolutely vital and must be in place on all school premises.”

Matt Heward, WMAS community response manager said: “We fully supports SADS UK with their campaign. As a service we strongly believe having defibrillators installed in public places, and having people trained in their use, helps to ensure the best care possible can be provided quickly and effectively, should anyone ever unfortunately suffer a cardiac arrest.”

Big Shock is being supported by Robert and Maggie Underwood from Redditch, who founded Redditch Heart Safe, and started campaigning for SADS UK, following the death of their daughter Charlotte, aged 16, from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.