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International Space Station deploys first automated external defibrillator in space

Medtronic : 14 August, 2008  (New Product)
Physio-Control‘s LIFEPAK 1000 defibrillator has been deployed on the International Space Station (ISS) as the first automated external defibrillator (AED) in space.
AEDs are easy to use devices that automatically interpret a patient’s heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver a potentially lifesaving defibrillation shock. They have become common in places such as airplanes, health clubs, and schools and now the LIFEPAK 1000 AED will be available for NASA crew members should someone experience sudden cardiac arrest in space.

The ISS has utilised manual defibrillators in the past, but NASA decided to now deploy an AED because it requires less training and maintenance, better enabling astronauts to respond to a medical emergency. The small size and light weight of the 1000 also helped minimize hardware mass and volume onboard the Space Station.

NASA conducted extensive evaluations of 18 AEDs available worldwide before selecting the LIFEPAK 1000 defibrillator to protect the crew members of the ISS. The AED evaluations focused on user interface, ease of use, durability and detailed technical specifications related to the unique conditions encountered in space, including electromagnetic interference, pressure susceptibility, temperature, vibration, acceleration and other environmental factors. Additionally, Medical Operations personnel evaluated the use of LIFEPAK 1000 in zero gravity conditions aboard a NASA DC-9 test aircraft as part of developing their advanced life support use protocols.

With the exception of a customised battery developed and provided by Micro Power Electronics, a leading manufacturer of custom batteries and power systems, and a NASA-created cover for the device that is specifically designed for space use to help protect it from electromagnetic interference, the LIFEPAK 1000 was deployed on board the Space Station in the same device configuration used by professional emergency responders.

“We are honoured NASA selected the LIFEPAK 1000 defibrillator to protect the lives of crew members onboard the International Space Station,” said Brian Webster, president of Physio-Control. “The 1000 is used by thousands of emergency responders worldwide and was designed for use in the harshest environments and situations; it’s proven to be one of the most reliable products Physio-Control has ever developed. This ‘space first’ is especially exciting for us, as it underscores the many reasons customers choose LIFEPAK defibrillators for emergency medical use.”

Physio-Control of Redmond, Washington, USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Medtronic.
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