Thousands of life-saving defibrillators may have electrical fault which means they won't work in an emergency

Thousands of life-saving defibrillators may not work in an emergency due to an electrical fault.

Defibrillators give a patient in cardiac arrest an electric shock to the heart, which can help save their life.

If the machine has the fault would mean it may not be able to deliver the electric shock.

These devices are available in public places such as schools, supermarkets, community centres and train stations and can be used by any member of the public in an emergency.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued an alert and estimates around 2,577 devices are defective.

The safety notice said people should check if they have the model affected:


  • LIFEPAK EXPRESS Automatic External Defibrillators (AED)

The MHRA said the fault is due to a switch that can intermittently become stuck in the closed position. This could fail to deliver a shock to resuscitate a patient.

The manufacturer, Physio-Control, has issued a safety alert and advised that people check their defibrillator by checking the following:

  • When the on/off button is pressed and the lid is opened a voice prompt may fail to initiate.

  • If voice prompts are not activated within five seconds, people should remove their device, not use it and contact the manufacturer’s customer support to arrange for the reed switch to be replaced.

If the voice prompt is initiated, people can still use the defibrillator but should monitor them until contacted by the manufacturer.

These devices deliver life-saving treatment and it is vital that they work in an emergency. Those responsible for them should carry out the instructions by the manufacturer.

John Wilkinson, MHRA’s Director of Medical Devices