The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a programme to facilitate the development of safer and more effective external defibrillators through improved design and manufacturing practices.

The watchdog said that its Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has received more than 28,000 reports associated with failure of external defibrillators in the past five years.

Manufacturers have also issued recalls on several occasions.

CDRH has identified that many of the problems, including engineering design and manufacturing practices, were preventable and correctable.

As a part of the initiative, CRDH is taking steps to work with manufacturers, users and experts to improve the engineering design and manufacturing practices of these devices, and to make way for the development of their next generation.

The CRDH is also planning to release a white paper which describes the steps it is taking to improve the external defibrillator safety.