Why are AEDs so Important?
What are AEDs
An AED, also referred to as an Automated External Defibrillator, is a potentially lifesaving medical device that, over the years, has grown more and more popular in a variety of offices and other work environments, along with CPR and AED training, to address possible ventricular fibrillation.
What are AEDs used for?
This particular medical device is used in cases where someone is experiencing cardiac arrest. The purpose of an AED is to analyze the rhythm of a person’s heart effectively and, if it’s irregular, deliver an electrical shock through pads placed on the victim’s chest that’ll help return the rhythm to its stable and normal rhythm.
These are incredibly cost-effective solutions, and given the role that AEDs play, there’s no doubt that they’re essential to have in absolutely every single public building out there. A cardiac arrest can strike at any time without warning and can affect even those who are young and seem physically fit.
AEDs are Safe and Reliable
AEDs only shock an irregular rhythm called Ventricular Fibrillation. Therefore, it cannot and will not shock a normal heart beat. This makes it an incredibly safe device to be used in the case of emergency.
A cardiac arrest is defined as irregularity or termination of a person’s heartbeat, however, unlike a heart attack, it is an electrical problem that creates abnormal heart beats, preventing the heart from pumping blood to the rest of the organs. Given the severity of this problem, time is of the absolute essence, and this is where AEDs come in handy to provide potentially life-saving care.
It has been shown that every minute the use of an AED is delayed, the probability of survival decreases by 7-10 percent. If AEDs are used alongside CPR, then the probability of survival increases up by up to 75%. If AEDs are not used at all, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest is less than 5%. According to the National Safety Council it has been shown that increased access to AEDs could save as many as 40,000 lives each year.
All these figures show the necessity and reliability of these life-saving devices. Given the high stakes of situations that require the use of AEDs, there are safety measures taken by the government that ensure that every AED device meets a specifically defined criteria to ensure their safety and reliability. The FDA has also issued a list of approved AED devices and require companies who sell AED devices to get federal clearance.
Growing Market and Demand for AEDs
Cardiac arrests can happen to anyone, even to a seemingly healthy-looking person. It’s the leading cause of death in people over the age of 40. As mentioned above, the use of AEDs at a critical moment can mean the difference between life and death, so given the uncertainty of cardiac arrests and high efficacy of these devices, the demand for AEDs is rising and there is a huge market for these products. According to an estimate, the global market for AEDs is predicted to rise to $4.47 billion in 2025, from $1.21 billion in 2016. The market for AEDs is predicted to set a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 15.8 percent.
AEDs in the workplace
Lately, there has been a consistent increasing trend in workplace induced stress, and stress is known to be one of the greatest causes of cardiac arrests. This means that there is a dire need of AEDs in the workplace. Although occupational health and safety rules and regulations do not require a defibrillator in the workplace, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends having the device readily available on job sites. Some workplaces have already started offering training programs on the use of AEDs in emergency situations which has increased the demand for these devices considerably.
OSHA has specified the following guidelines for the availability and use of AEDs in the workplace:
- Designate employees that are authorized to use defibrillators in emergency situations
- Train employees on proper use of AEDs, including manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Place AEDs in areas where they can be accessed within 3 to 5 minutes of a cardiac arrest
- Make sure that in-office AEDs are inspected, tested, and maintained as noted in the manufacturer’s specifications.
What to Look for in AEDs?
As this particular product has evolved over time, from the design to the electrode pads, we’ve started to see a wide variety of different company designs and release of their own distinct AED variants that have unique features designed to set them apart and make them the most practical choice.
But all the bells and whistles aside, they all practically function the same. One isn’t better at shocking than another.
Variety of Choices
Considering how there are multitudes of different choices to pick from nowadays when purchasing an AED, it’s essential to know the specific things that you should watch out for when buying this device to ensure that you make the right decision and pick the best AED that’s perfectly suited to your needs and requirements.
Ease of Use
First and foremost, perhaps the key thing to remember when buying an AED is to ensure that it’s easy to use and contains a lithium battery for a long charge. While there are no doubt many feature-rich AEDs available that save lives, these can also end up being a bit complicated to use for the everyday passer-by.
Given the intense situations in which AEDs are usually required (such as in a home defibrillator situation), the best AED is a simple device in terms of its design and functionality so that anyone, even people who aren’t particularly familiar with these devices, can utilize them if need be. One example of such a design is the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P listed below, which has an incredibly simplistic and intuitive design.
It’s also essential to ensure that the AED you purchase comes with all the necessary accessories and features like voice instruction to make the most out of them. The best AEDs will come with electrode pads, a battery, and their own carrying case so that they’re portable and easily usable in any situation. It’s also worth looking into whether the AED you’re buying offers visual guidance, Difibtech Lifeline, and Lifepak CR, as this can be beneficial for someone who’s attempting to use this device but has no prior experience with it.
You’ll have to make another choice when buying an AED, deciding whether or not you need an automatic AED or a semi-automatic AED. An automatic AED will, as the name suggests, automatically administer a shock if it detects irregular heart rhythms and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). On the other hand, a semi-automatic AED will require some manual input from a user once it’s detected that a shock needs to be administered, though it can occasionally be more cost-effective.
Should you have the option of doing so, it’s worthwhile to invest in a fully automatic AED as it can save some much-needed seconds during a critical situation when things become a matter of life and death.
Fortunately, there are many AEDs available that fit the criteria mentioned above, and you can expect them to cost you anywhere between $1200-$3000 depending on how feature-rich and technologically advanced the final product is with a warranty covering around six to eight of service. Still, this, of course, varies from product to product.
As far as the durability of AEDs is concerned, there is an International Protection Rating system used to classify different AED products. This standardized system of classification is known as the Ingress Protection Rating or IP Code. This two-digit code indicates the level of protection against various solids and liquids. The first digit indicates protection against solid waste like dirt, dust, gunk, and grime. The range of this rating goes from 0 to 6, 6 being the best protection. The second digit indicates the protection against water and ranges from 0 to 8, higher number meaning better protection. An X on either of the digit means that the device wasn’t tested or is not rated. The need for durability against harsh conditions depends on the nature of use but it is always better to go for the highest rated product. Some devices include a self-check mechanism for maintenance.
Lastly, warranty is another important factor to consider when purchasing an AED device. It’s necessary to know what is covered in the warranty and how long does the warranty last. Most of the times the accessories aren’t warranted so it is important to check that as well. Is there a service plan and is the customer service free and 24/7? It is recommended that the device be serviced once every year. Timely maintenance prevents chances of damage and failure. It’s also important to make sure that the replacement parts are from the original manufacturer.
The Best AED Products
Considering how much AEDs have evolved since their inception, such as the revolutionary Philips Heartstart Onsite. The AEDs listed below cover all the fundamentals that a genuinely high-end and effective device of this sort should consist of, so, without further ado, let’s get right into them.
The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P is meant to be a simple, compact, and effective AED that’s designed to offer every single thing that one would expect from a high-end AED that perfectly serves its purpose.
This is a device that absolutely anyone, even someone who’s using it for the first time, will be able to utilize properly thanks to its simplified design as well as the real-time coaching functionality that it consists of, which will walk anyone through everything they need to know in order to use the machine. Alongside its straightforward design, which revolves around no more than two buttons, this AED is lightweight as well as it falls at 2.83lbs, so it leaves a very small footprint and can easily be placed in any public location without causing much disruption. On top of everything else, it’s reasonably priced at $1315 and offers a warranty period of up to 8 years which is a substantial amount of time.
The official Philips website states that the HeartStart Onsite AED is designed for the ‘ordinary person in the extraordinary moment’ and this description flawlessly captures the essence of this device because, even with absolutely zero training with AEDs, you can still do everything that this device was designed for.
This is a straightforward design that comes ready for use with the battery pre-installed, so it’s perfect for dealing with sudden cardiac arrest. Upon starting it, users are guided via voice instructions regarding precisely what they’re supposed to do. The device itself is fairly small, with a pad surface area of 85cm2 and a cable length of no more than 137cm2. This AED is priced fairly well at $1275 and comes with a considerable warranty period of 5 years, starting from the date of shipment.
The Zoll AED Plus is undoubtedly one of the best products in its class. It truly raises the bar for AEDs as a whole thanks to their intuitive design, IP55 rating, and ability to withstand challenging conditions such as extreme heights or temperature.
This AED also comes with real-time CPR assistance that guides users through the entire process and provides actual feedback through which one can determine what they’re doing wrong and what they can do to fix it. The pads and batteries of the Zoll AED Plus are rated to have a shelf-life of 5 years, and the warranty of the Zoll AED Plus itself can be up to 7 years.
This AED is priced at $1700, and it’s slightly heavier than usual at a weight of 6.7lbs, but this is to be expected considering its feature-rich design.
The Defibtech Lifeline AED is a durable, reliable, and effective AED that’s no doubt capable of assisting in absolutely every single environment, thanks to its resilient and simplistic design.
This AED features a straightforward device with precise and straightforward voice prompts that’ll walk users through the entirety of its operations and ensure that they can utilize this device properly. Quite a few AEDs can seem a bit intimidating to use due to their intricate designs, but this isn’t the case with the Lifeline AED from Defibtech.
At 4.4lbs, the product also weighs a bit less than some of the bulkier options available and comes with a lengthy 8-year long product warranty.
The Powerheart G5 is yet another reliable and effective AED, and this device demonstrates just how much technological advancement has been made in AEDs over the years. The defining aspect of the Powerheart G5 is the RescueCoach technology which is essentially a step-by-step and incredibly thorough guide that’ll walk users through the entirety of the process.
This ensures that the person who needs care gets it as quickly as possible; the RescueCoach also assists with CPR thanks to its real-time, data-driven feedback. This device is also rated at IP55, so it’s capable of withstanding harsh conditions, and it weighs about 5.7lbs if you include the battery and the pads. This AED is priced at $1820, which is expected considering its advanced features and has an 8 year-long warranty, a testament to its quality.
The HeartStart FR3 is undoubtedly one of the most technologically advanced AEDs available yet; at the same time, it’s also incredibly simple in terms of usage and design.
One of the major highlights of the HeartStart FR3 is the fact that it’s small and lightweight, weighing at no more than 3lbs, so it’s without a doubt one of the best choices to use in tight situations where a swift and effective response is critical to saving a life.
Alongside this, it’s also rated IP55, so it’ll operate effectively in even harsh environments, and it’s relatively straightforward design enables anyone, even those who are unfamiliar with AEDs, to utilize it and potentially save a life. This particular AED is priced a bit higher than most others at $2520, but it does have a variety of advantages that make it worth the cost.
Choosing the Best AED
No matter what you decide, speak with your doctor regarding your AED, and ensure that you know how to use it. The AED a device that saves lives when utilized correctly, so make sure you’ve got the right one for your needs.
Lastly, be aware that every state has regulations for AEDs which the average consumer knows nothing about. There aren’t any notices when you go to purchase the AED online which is why the majority of people purchase AEDs and never are compliant with their state’s regulations.
In general, most states dictate the following.
- You must have a prescription which is renewed annually for your AED.
- There needs to be a written emergency action plan, and often times you’re required to submit that to your local EMS or health department.
- Usually one or more people at your organization need to be trained in CPR.
- A monthly log needs to be maintained for your AED.
- If an incident occurs where you use the AED, they may require you to submit an incident report to the proper authorities.
Many people opt to use an AED Program Management service that handles all the compliance aspects for their AED. Generally, they are pretty affordable and some are very easy to use with a online portal, regular email reminders, and automated systems.
I hope this article was helpful in giving you some guidance as you choose the best AED for your organization. If you are interested in purchasing an AED, you can you shop our wide selection of AEDs.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.