Many inquiries have been received as to whether VitalStim electrodes can be used multiple times or whether they are strictly single use. The answer is YES, they can be used multiple times. This was confirmed when the designation of “single use” was removed several years ago. VitalCare Technology’s recommendation has always been to use electrodes for their lifetime which is measured in minutes not for just an arbitrary number of sessions. This lifetime has continued to improve as the components of the electrode improve. Tests have shown that any electrodes of this type that are used to a point that is higher than approximately 150 Ohms are not effective enough for use and can cause other complications.
The following guidelines for reuse are to ensure safety and efficacy:
Electrodes should never be used on the multiple patients. They are strictly single patient use.
Since impedance is increased with re-use, the therapist should apply a single drop of water on the gel layer of the electrode prior to placing it on the patient for the subsequent therapy sessions. This will help improve conductivity.
If the patient complains of pain or a burning sensation during treatment use your best judgement and make sure it is not due to an overused electrode. Remove the electrode and inspect it and the patient’s skin. Signs of “hot spots” (areas where the current is concentrated because of irregular conductivity) are red spots on the skin and sometimes brown spots on the electrode. Discard the electrodes if any such signs occur.
If the patient response to the current deteriorates during treatment, this may indicate that impedance is becoming unacceptably high. If adding a drop of water does not remedy this lack of response, discard the electrodes.
Note: An impedance greater than 150 (Ω) is generally accepted to be too high for effective electrotherapy.