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5 Things to Consider When You Purchase an AED

AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) have come a long way since their inception, becoming more user-friendly, versatile, and accessible for both professionals and laypeople. As these life-saving devices become increasingly present in our everyday lives understanding the ins and outs of when you make an AED purchase an AED  remains crucial. Are you ready to embark on a journey to explore the world of AEDs and make an informed decision when purchasing one? Let’s discuss “5 things to consider when you purchase an AED.”

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various types of AEDs, evaluate the costs and maintenance factors, assess user-friendly features, and navigate the legal and regulatory landscape. By the end, you will have a solid grasp of the essentials to consider when purchasing an AED, ensuring that you are well-equipped to save lives in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.

Understanding the Types of AEDs

Understanding the Types of AEDs

When it comes to choosing an AED, there’s more to consider than just the price. Understanding the types of AEDs available and their respective features can help you make a more informed decision. After all, the right AED can make all the difference in saving a life during a sudden cardiac arrest.

Let’s start by examining the differences between automatic and semi-automatic AEDs, as well as the various environment-specific AEDs designed for public use, trained individuals, and rugged environments.

Fully Automatic vs Semi-Automatic

Fully automatic and semi-automatic automated external defibrillators (AEDs) may appear similar at first glance, but they have distinct differences that can impact their ease of use. Fully automatic AEDs administer a shock without the need for the user to press a button, whereas semi-automatic AEDs require the user to press a button to deliver the shock. Both types of AEDs use sensors to detect arrhythmia, ensuring that a shock is only recommended if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, making them safe for individuals without a medical background.

When deciding between a fully automatic or semi-automatic AED, one must weigh the pros and cons of each type. Fully automatic AEDs are typically more expensive but require less user intervention. On the other hand, semi-automatic AEDs are less expensive but require more user intervention. Keeping these factors in mind will help you make the right decision when purchasing an AED.

Quick Tip:

Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening medical emergency that affects the electrical activity of the heart. It causes an irregular and too-rapid heartbeat that can lead to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops pumping blood effectively.

Environment-Specific AEDs

When choosing an AED, it’s essential to consider the intended setting and user. Different environments and users may require specific AED features.

IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are an international standard used to rate the protection level of a device from dust and moisture. IP ratings indicate how much protection the enclosure of a device provides against the intrusion of solid objects, such as fingers or tools, as well as various degrees of water penetration. An AED’s IP rating is important for determining its suitability in certain environments, such as hospitals or dusty workplaces. For instance, if an AED needs to be used outdoors, it should have a higher IP rating than one that will be used indoors. By understanding IP ratings, one can make educated decisions when selecting an AED based on its resistance to dust and moisture. Generally speaking, the higher the IP rating, the better protection from dust and moisture an AED has.

IP ratings are usually expressed as two numbers separated by a decimal point, such as IP67. The first number of the rating indicates the level of protection against solid objects or foreign bodies, while the second digit indicates protection against liquids. For example, IP67 means that a device is totally protected against dust and is protected against immersion in water up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. Therefore, when shopping for an AED, make sure to check the IP rating to ensure it is suitable for its intended environment.

It is also important to note that while IP ratings are useful in determining dust and moisture resistance, they do not necessarily reflect other external factors such as temperature changes or mechanical stresses. Therefore, it is best to research the specific weather conditions and usage environment for an AED before selecting one to ensure it can withstand any external forces that may be present. Additionally, although IP ratings are important in making sure an AED is suitable for its intended use, other factors such as size and portability should also be taken into consideration. By understanding IP ratings and researching an AED’s intended environment, one can make an informed decision when selecting an AED.

Another critical factor to consider is the target audience. Shock intensity typically varies between adult and pediatric patients, so selecting an AED with adjustable shock intensity is crucial for the safety of pediatric patients.

By keeping the intended setting and user in mind, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing an AED.

Evaluating Costs and Maintenance

Evaluating Costs and Maintenance

As with any investment, it’s crucial to evaluate the costs associated with owning an AED, from the initial purchase price to ongoing maintenance and replacement costs.

Let’s break down these factors to help you make an informed decision and ensure that your AED is ready to save lives when needed.

Initial Purchase Price

AEDs can range in price from around $1,100 with a coupon to over $3,500, with various features affecting the overall cost. Factors to consider include:

  • ECG monitoring

  • Manual override options

  • Exterior housing units

  • Extended battery life

  • Voice prompts

Balancing these features with your budget and specific needs will help you choose the right AED for your situation.

It’s essential to keep in mind that the initial purchase price is just one aspect of the total cost of ownership. Maintenance and replacement costs, as well as warranties and support, can also impact the overall investment in an AED.

Ongoing Maintenance Cost of Accessories

To calculate the ongoing cost of owning an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), it’s crucial to consider the recurring cost of the accessories that have to be replaced when they expire. Primarily, this will include electrode pads and batteries, each of which has a specific lifespan varying by manufacturer and model. The frequency of these replacements over a specific time period (such as ten years) should be factored in to get a realistic picture of the total cost of ownership. Note almost all AEDs have at least an 8-year warranty and a typical life of an AED is around 8 years.

Here is a table that illustrates the standard expiration times for electrode pads and batteries for various AED models at the time this post was written:

Cost of AED Ownership Table

To estimate the ongoing cost, you need to multiply the cost of replacement pads and batteries by the number of times they’ll need to be replaced over your desired time frame. For example, if you own a Philips OnSite or a Philips FRx, and you’re calculating the costs over an eight-year period, you’d replace the pads three times and the battery once. Note that all AEDs come with a set of electrode pads and a battery so replacement costs are only associated with replacement after the initial accessories expire. Add up these costs, and you’ll get an approximate idea of the AED’s total cost of ownership.

Some AEDs offer a battery and pad life cycle of up to 5 years, reducing maintenance costs and the need for frequent replacements although the batteries are typically more expensive and must be factored into your analysis. Considering these factors can help you find improved battery life and select an AED that is both cost-effective and reliable in an emergency, ensuring improved battery life.

New Technology and Feature-Rich AEDs

The Physio-Control CR2 AED stands out as an advanced and life-saving medical device due to its unique capability to analyze sudden cardiac arrest victims’ vitals and data while the responder continues to perform hands-on CPR. This feature is of immense significance because many other AEDs available on the market require the responder to pause CPR and wait for the AED to complete its analysis before administering a shock. However, CR2’s ability to allow uninterrupted CPR during the analysis process is a game-changer. By enabling the responder to maintain hands-on CPR, the CR2 maximizes the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body, significantly improving the chances of survival for the victim. This innovative design ensures that vital life-saving efforts are not compromised, making the CR2 AED a crucial tool in the race against time during cardiac emergencies.

Warranty and Support

A comprehensive warranty and support system can provide peace of mind and ensure that your AED is covered for necessary repairs or replacements due to everyday use. It’s recommended to have a warranty of at least 7 to 8 years when purchasing an AED.

When considering an AED with a limited warranty, be cautious, as the device may be second-hand. A thorough understanding of the warranty and support options offered by the manufacturer or provider can help you make the most of your AED purchase and ensure that you are well-equipped to handle emergencies.

Assessing User-Friendly Features

Assessing User-Friendly Features

When purchasing an AED, it’s crucial to assess user-friendly features that can make the device easy to use for both professional medical attendants and laypeople without a medical background. These features can improve the effectiveness of emergency responders and increase the chances of survival for sudden cardiac arrest victims.

User-friendly features to look for include a clear and concise user interface, visual and/or audio.

Voice Prompts and CPR Coaching

Clear voice instructions and CPR coaching can significantly improve the effectiveness of emergency responders during a cardiac arrest. An automated external defibrillator, such as the Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR2, serves as a life-saving device by providing voice prompts and CPR coaching to guide users through the process, ensuring effective CPR and proper use of the device.

CPR coaching can help the user stay calm and composed while performing CPR in a stressful situation. Studies, such as the one conducted by the University of Arizona, have shown that improved CPR can significantly increase the chances of survival for a sudden cardiac arrest victim. Voice instructions are essential for guiding the user throughout the defibrillation process and ensuring effective CPR.

Training Mode

A training mode on an AED device allows users to familiarize themselves with its operation and electrical therapy delivery without delivering real shocks. This feature can be beneficial for both professional medical attendants and laypeople, as it helps them gain confidence and experience using the device.

Practicing the training mode as much as necessary is the best way to become familiar with the device’s operation. Regular practice can help users respond effectively during a real emergency, increasing the chances of saving a life.

Pediatric Capabilities

Considering AED devices suitable for pediatric patients is crucial, as the shock intensity typically varies between adult and pediatric patients. Selecting an AED with adjustable shock intensity and specialized pediatric pads or electrodes ensures the safe use of the device on children under the age of eight and infants.

Proper training and education for using pediatric AEDs are essential, as it includes understanding how to correctly attach the pediatric pads or electrodes, adjust the energy level, and utilize the voice prompts to deliver electrical therapy. By ensuring that your AED is suitable for pediatric patients, you can be prepared to save lives in any emergency situation.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

Before purchasing an AED, it’s essential to explore the legal and regulatory aspects of owning one. This includes understanding FDA guidelines, state requirements, and prescription considerations.

By familiarizing yourself with these regulations, you can ensure that your AED is compliant and ready to use in case of an emergency.

FDA Guidelines and Prescription Requirements

The rules set by the FDA for purchasing AEDs vary by state and manufacturer, with some requiring a prescription. The rationale for requiring a prescription is to guarantee that the AED is labeled accurately and managed responsibly.

When purchasing an AED, it’s essential to understand the prescription requirements in your state, as they may differ depending on the manufacturer. Many resellers can assist in the process of acquiring a prescription, ensuring that you are compliant with FDA guidelines and state regulations.

State Requirements

AED (Automated External Defibrillator) laws vary from state to state in the United States, as each state has its own legislation and regulations surrounding the deployment and use of these life-saving devices. These state laws typically cover several important aspects to ensure the effective implementation and maintenance of AED programs.

One essential component addressed by state AED laws is AED maintenance. These laws often outline specific requirements for regular maintenance and testing of AEDs to ensure their functionality and readiness for use in emergencies. Proper maintenance and routine checks are crucial to ensure that the AEDs are in optimal working condition when needed.

CPR training is another critical aspect covered in state AED laws. Many states mandate that potential AED users, such as employees in public places or designated responders, undergo CPR and AED training. This training ensures that those who might be called upon to use an AED are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to administer aid effectively during cardiac emergencies.

Some states also require AED program registration, wherein organizations or businesses that have deployed AEDs are required to register them with relevant authorities. This registration helps the state keep track of the number and location of AEDs within its jurisdiction, aiding emergency services in directing responders to the nearest AED during an emergency.

AED placement reporting is often addressed in state laws, requiring businesses and organizations to report the exact locations of their AEDs. This information is valuable for first responders and dispatchers, enabling them to quickly locate and utilize nearby AEDs in critical situations.

Medical direction is another essential aspect outlined in state AED laws. It involves collaboration with medical professionals who provide oversight and guidance for AED programs. Medical direction ensures that the program adheres to the latest medical protocols, follows best practices, and operates within the appropriate legal framework.

Moreover, state AED laws often stipulate AED use reporting requirements. These laws may necessitate that incidents involving AED deployment and usage be documented and reported to relevant authorities. This data helps monitor the effectiveness of AED programs and identify any areas for improvement.

AED program documentation is crucial as well, as states may require organizations to maintain records related to AED training, maintenance, and deployment. Proper documentation not only ensures compliance with state laws but also assists organizations in reviewing their AED program’s effectiveness and identifying opportunities for enhancement.

Finally, state AED laws may encompass additional requirements specific to each state’s priorities and needs. These could include liability protection provisions for those using AEDs in good faith, funding opportunities for acquiring AEDs in public places, or guidelines for public awareness campaigns promoting the importance of AEDs and CPR training.

Overall, state AED laws play a vital role in promoting the widespread adoption and effective use of AEDs, ultimately contributing to higher survival rates in cases of sudden cardiac arrest across the nation.

Importance of Training and Education

Importance of Training and Education

Proper training and education are vital in using an AED effectively during a sudden cardiac arrest. From basic training for laypeople to advanced training for professional medical attendants, understanding how to use an AED correctly can make all the difference in saving a person’s life.

Let’s delve into the importance of training and education, as well as the various training programs available.

Basic Training for Laypeople

Basic first-aid training for non-medical personnel can be incredibly beneficial in emergency situations. By equipping laypeople with the knowledge and skills to use an AED correctly and promptly, the chances of a favorable outcome are significantly improved. Basic training can also help individuals feel more confident in their ability to employ an AED accurately and expeditiously in an emergency circumstance.

Moreover, basic training can facilitate the initiation of CPR in an emergency situation, helping to overcome potential barriers and improve patient outcomes. By providing basic training to non-medical personnel, you can ensure that everyone is prepared to respond effectively in the event of a cardiac emergency.

Advanced Training for Professionals

Advanced Training for Professionals

Advanced training for professional medical attendants can enhance their life-saving skills with an AED, ensuring that they are well-equipped to handle any emergency situation. By gaining a better understanding of the proper use of AEDs, including attaching the pads, interpreting the readings, and responding to any alarms or warnings, professionals can improve the quality of CPR they provide and optimize the chances of a favorable outcome.

Moreover, understanding the significance of AED maintenance and regular inspections is essential for professionals, as it guarantees that the device is functioning correctly and ready for use in an emergency. Advanced training programs can provide professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to utilize AEDs effectively and confidently during a sudden cardiac arrest.

Ongoing Education

Continuous learning and staying updated on the latest CPR guidelines and AED technologies are critical for both laypeople and professionals. Ongoing education can help individuals retain CPR and AED use information, enhance CPR knowledge and abilities, and enable them to act as initial responders.

Various training and education programs are available, including basic training for laypeople, advanced training for professionals, and courses on CPR and AED use. By participating in ongoing education, you can ensure that you are well-equipped and knowledgeable about using an AED effectively during a sudden cardiac arrest.


In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the essentials to consider when purchasing an AED, from understanding the types of AEDs and evaluating costs and maintenance to assessing user-friendly features and navigating the legal and regulatory landscape. With proper training and education, both laypeople and professional medical attendants can be well-equipped to save lives during sudden cardiac arrest.

Remember that acquiring an AED is not just a purchase – it’s an investment in saving lives. By making an informed decision and staying up-to-date with the latest CPR guidelines and AED technologies, you can ensure that you are prepared to respond effectively in any emergency situation.

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