Choosing a Defibrillator

With the increased acceptance of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in such a wide variety of locations, there now exist a variety of devices available on the market, from numerous manufacturers. With so many choices on the market, and so much technical information to sort through, it can be challenging to determine which is the most appropriate choice.

Philips HeartStart: The Emergency Medical Group Choice
We at Emergency Medical Group carefully follow the AED industry and rapidly evolving technology (Click here to learn about our background and philosophy). Individuals and organizations frequently seek our advice when making decisions on their defibrillation program design, and we do not take this obligation lightly. We have chosen to recommend and provide Philips HeartStart Defibrillators to our clients, our communities, and our families.

Key Considerations
Above all else, recall that an AED is a potentially lifesaving investment. The following three key criteria should be scrutinized when making a decision:

      1. Ease of Use
      2. Reliability
      3. Effectiveness

Ease of Use
In order for a defibrillator to be effective in saving a life it must be used properly. Despite the relative simplicity of most devices, skill is involved in successfully operating the AED, accurately positioning the defibrillation pads, and rapidly delivering a shock. What seems like a simple task after watching a demonstration, or during practice, becomes vastly more difficult for an ordinary person under the stress of an actual "life-or-death" situation.

HeartStart Defibrillators have been designed with the ordinary person in mind. Clear voice instructions calmly guide a frightened responder through the rescue process. Independent studies have consistently demonstrated HeartStart Defibrillators superior to others in areas of ease of use, time to defibrillation, responder success, pad placement accuracy, and responder preference. We encourage you to review this research.

In most defibrillation program settings, AEDs may go years between actual patient uses. When a life is on the line, the device that has hung on the wall for so long must be relied upon to work, without fail. In selecting an AED it is important to consider the degree to which the device self-tests, and the reliability reputation or track-record of the manufacturer.

Exhaustive Self-Testing
HeartStart Defibrillators automatically test critical components of the defibrillator on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, without any user intervention, to ensure continued readiness for use. The HeartStart OnSite Defibrillator is the only AED that tests both the presence and condition of the defibrillation pads, and can provide a warning if the pads are not suitable for use.

Philips Reputation
The reputation of Philips HeartStart Defibrillators is second to none in the industry. Philips is the number-one market leader in AEDs in the world. There are well over 150,000 HeartStart Defibrillators in service around the globe, amounting to billions of service hours. Philips is consistently the innovator in defibrillation technology which other manufacturers follow.

By contrast, Consider the numerous FDA-Reported recalls of many other popular AED brands:

LP500 | AED+ | MSeries | Access AED | Power Heart

New Manufacturers
As the acceptance of and market for AEDs has grown, new manufacturers have entered the AED market. Generally, these AEDs are less expensive than those from established manufacturers, and may seem attractive to some buyers. Having experience with many of these cheaper products, and having regard for the amount of research, development, and medical device manufacturing expertise required to make a reliable defibrillator, Emergency Medical Group does not recommend products from manufacturers that have a track record of making defibrillators less than four years, as their reliability cannot be established.

Additionally, as some smaller AED manufacturers fail, it is questionable whether there will be a source for replacement batteries, pads, and support for their AEDs in the future, rendering these "bargain" AEDs useless down the line.

In order to save a life, the therapy (shock) delivered by the AED needs to be effective. Although it is true that all defibrillators available meet some minimum standards, it is a common misconception that all defibrillators are similarly effective in saving lives.

The defibrillation waveform, or shock, of modern biphasic defibrillators, varies considerably from manufacturer to manufacturer. The task of sorting out these various technologies is a daunting task, even for experts. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Studies of actual cardiac arrest victims show that those treated with Philips SMART Biphasic waveform are more likely to survive to hospital discharge than those treated with other defibrillators. More..
  • Philips SMART Biphasic waveform is the most studied and clinically documented defibrillation waveform in existence.
  • Philips SMART Biphasic is the most proven defibrillation waveform in actual real-world sudden cardiac arrest, not just in laboratories.
  • Patented Philips Defibrillation set the standard in modern biphasic external defibrillation.

More information on defibrillation waveforms..

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