Rice, Texas Heart team up to develop Second-Chance AED pads

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Rice University bioengineering students in collaboration with the Texas Heart Institute (THI) have developed new pad technology for automated external defibrillators (AEDs), Second-Chance AED Pads.

The Second-Chance pads let rescuers attempt shock a second time without losing valuable time removing pads from the victim’s chest, Houston-based Rice University said. The pads include three electrodes, two in a single pad with an A/B switch and a third in its own pad. Often the first shock doesn't reset the heart and the procedure with AED must be repeated; however, the pads on the chest must first be repositioned.

“If one shock doesn't restart the patient’s heart, flipping the switch will change the jolt’s path, just a little bit, for the second attempt,” the university wrote.

Students performing a capstone project who were on the DefibTaskForce at the University—Lisa Jiang, Joanna Nathan, Justin Lin, Carl Nelson and Brad Otto—invented the pads with Mehdi Razavi, MD, director of electrophysiology clinical research at THI and Renata Ramos, PhD, a bioengineering professor at Rice.

"We did some calculations that suggested we could save at least 13,000 lives per year," Otto said. "Cardiac defibrillation is very time-sensitive. Thirty seconds can be the difference between life and death in a lot of situations. The time it takes to flip the switch is negligible compared with the time it takes to remove the pads, shave and prep a new area on the body, reapply the pads and administer another shock. And a layman might not even know to try a second position."

When testing the pads on fellow students, 100 percent of testers placed the pads correctly. The university said that it hopes an AED manufacturer will pick up the rights to Second-Chance pads for clinical trials and ultimately gain FDA approval.