Biphasic Automated External Defibrillator

Advisory No. 97-02

Date Approved: February 4, 1997

New York State Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which uses a low energy "biphasic waveform" similar to the technology currently used in implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This allows the unit to determine the patient's chest impedance (resistance to electrical flow) and delivers a measured shock in response to that impedance. We can anticipate the FDA approval of more units/models using the biphasic waveform technology in the near future.

Some EMS providers have expressed concern that the units are not set to deliver shocks at the traditionally higher energy settings (200 J to 360 J). This advisory is to clarify that the biphasic automated external defibrillator, as approved by the FDA, is an acceptable device which can be used as outlined in the current New York State, Statewide Basic Life Support Adult Treatment Protocols for the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Traditional AED ("monophasic waveform") units, currently approved by the FDA, also remain an acceptable device used as outlined in the current New York State, Statewide Basic Life Support Adult Treatment Protocols for the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

As always, the decision on the purchase of specific medical devices should be done with the approval of your Service Medical Director and under the guidelines of the Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee (REMAC).

Issued by:

Mark Henry, MD
Chair, State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee

Barbara A. DeBuono, MD
Commissioner, Department of Health