Old airport radars affect Zoll monitors on EMS helicopters

Old airport radars affect Zoll monitors on EMS helicopters 5 Aug, 14, Source: Concern Network

from the pages of Concern Network Bulletin comes this cautionary report from the team at Northwest MedStar:-

At the beginning of April, the Medstar base in Missoula, Montana acquired new Zoll X-series monitors. Shortly after being placed into service, we began to notice that the monitors would turn off at the Missoula International Airport base (MSO).  This occurred exclusively at MSO in a couple of locations  Initially we believed the monitors were faulty and sent them back to Zoll for evaluation.  Other MedStar bases had used these monitors for over a year without any problem.  In early June, the Spokane Medstar team experienced a monitor ‘reset’ at MSO during takeoff with a patient on board with a monitor that had never had a problem.  As we looked further into the problem, we observed that the monitors ‘reset’ during a radar sweep by one of the radars at the west end of the MSO runway.  Our evaluation process was repeated to assure that the timing of the radar sweep coincided with the monitor ‘reset’. We were informed that these are late model (70?s era) radars which are still in use across Montana.  While there has been no harm to our patient population up to this point we believe flight teams transferring patients into and out of Missoula or other airports with these 70’s era radars should be aware of the potential problem if your patient happens to be attached to a Zoll X series monitor and especially if they are being paced.

We are working with Zoll to find a solution. Our temporary fix is that we shield the monitor with a foil backed device such as aluminum foil or a reflective sun shade.  Apparently the foil disperses the signal and a monitor ‘reset’ does not happen.

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