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Does Testing Accelerate Defibrillator Failure?-Reply

Richard O. Cummins, MD, MPH, MSc
JAMA. 1991;265(2):215. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460020068029.
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In Reply.—  Dr Bashein raises the interesting point that perhaps "overtesting" can "wear out" a defibrillator and lead to premature defibrillator failure. In actuality, three daily low-energy charge and discharge cycles, even if performed over the first 5 years of a defibrillator's life, do not significantly stress the components. Such activity is well within the performance capabilities of currently manufactured devices. Three discharges a day for 5 years constitute only 5475 shocks. Though impressive in number, these represent only a small proportion of a defibrillator's total discharge capacity. The membership of our Defibrillator Working Group included representatives from the Emergency Care Research Institute and the Health Industry Manufacturers Association. They expressed general agreement that frequent testing will not accelerate device failure.Dr Bashein's suggestion that frequent clinical use can substitute for discharge testing, while reasonable on the surface, raises several major concerns. One concern is that inclusion of actual clinical


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