Batteries are a big part of our lives. They power our electronics, our fitness trackers, and our cars.
When you think of batteries you may not immediately think of hospitals, but batteries are a big part of modern hospitals and their medical equipment. Hospitals are full of life support machines, vital signs monitors, tonometers, defibrillators, medicine carts, hospital beds, infusion pumps, scales, thermometers, imaging systems, cardiac monitoring, doctor’s pagers, and many more. With numerous devices becoming more mobile, batteries keep them running.
To keep the multitude of devices running and maintain safe operation of equipment, biomedical technicians keep track of the many types of batteries. In fact, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has identified battery management as one of the top 10 challenges for hospital's biomedical departments.1
In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration held a workshop to address challenges that may be associated with battery-powered medical devices. Part of the discussion centered on when a battery should be replaced.
An alert may sound or display on medical equipment when the battery needs to be replaced. For example, the HeartStart (also branded Heartstream) FR2 series (FR2, FR2+), FRx and HS1 series (HeartStart Defibrillator; Home and OnSite) Defibrillators use long-life Lithium batteries. When a low battery is detected, the unit will start chirping and the status indicator will change from the ready for use state. However, not all devices will sound the alarm when they need to be replaced. 2
With so many different machines and battery types, many hospitals often cannot keep up with regular testing of batteries. They often utilize a battery maintenance schedule and replace the battery with a new one every two years. Always be sure to follow proper recycling or disposal plans. With enough equipment maintenance personnel, it is possible to test the medical device battery more regularly to determine if it requires replacing. Replacing good batteries may seem wasteful and costly, but with life-saving machines it is usually wise to err on the side of caution.