An AED May Be the Difference Between Life and Death: Five Things to Consider Before You Buy

An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a life-saving medical device that detects heart rhythms and delivers an electric shock to a person experiencing a cardiac arrest. When a person experiences sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), their heart rhythm becomes irregular or stops altogether. Signs include irresponsiveness – lack of breathing, movement, pulse or resuscitation breaths. Typically used in conjunction with chest compressions, an AED “jump starts” the heart to regulate its rhythm and return it to a normal pace.

Who can an AED Help?

A SCA can happen anytime, anyplace, and to anyone, regardless of a person’s age or medical history. Those with previous heart issues and the elderly have an increased risk for SCA. While this is a scary thought to digest, having an AED on hand reduces the severity of the effects of experiencing an SCA, including drastically reducing the risk of death. AED’s can be used to save the lives of anyone (over the age of one) experiencing a SCA, and reduced energy electrodes are recommended for those under the age of eight.

Why is having an AED so vital?

Having an AED in close vicinity, whether it be in your home, school, workplace or a public place, can mean the difference between life and death in a matter of minutes. The more time that passes without intervention, the lower the chance of survival. Although CPR helps, surpassing the 10-minute mark without a defibrillator decreases the chances of survival dramatically. In fact, defibrillation using an AED is the only proven course of action in restoring a regular heart rhythm. As a result, having an AED nearby in work and public spaces is recommended by governments and expert healthcare organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The benefit of an AED is that anyone, including non-medical personnel can use it. In a medical emergency where time is critical, this means people with little to no training can use the device to save lives. With instructions guided by voice activation, AED’s are easy to use. They provide step-by-step instructions to ensure rescuers remain focused through the chaos of a medical emergency. The voice instructions also ensure the rescuers themselves are safe, giving prompts on when not to touch the patient (when delivering the shock), and when it is safe to proceed with chest compressions. Along with accurate and swift detection of a patient’s heart rhythm, AEDs have safeguards in place to prevent administering defibrillation to someone who doesn’t need it.

Five things to look for when buying an AED

  • Ease of use: Does the AED have clear instructions that anyone, including non-medical personnel, can follow? An AED with straight-forward visual cues and direct voice instructions ensures even the most inexperienced individual can use the device in an emergency.
  • Reliability: An AED with an indicator like ‘OK’ to ensure readiness is important. Look for a unit that will flash a warning light or emit a sound if the unit needs service. A five-year warranty should be the minimum, in line with current industry standards.
  • Power capability: AEDs with variable escalating energy, from 150J to 360J, are helpful in delivering a more precise level of shock based on the situation and age of the patient.
  • Usable on adults and children: Ensuring the AED is safe and effective for adults and children is especially important in public spaces. Since SCA can affect anyone, regardless of age, having AED that is adaptable to the patient enables consistent live-saving capabilities for everyone.
  • Size: An AED that weighs less than 8 pounds means anyone can lift it to use it when needed. Additionally, the AED’s dimensions should be small enough that it can be easily installed anywhere, but large enough that it can be visibly located in high-traffic areas.

LIFEPAK CR2: A best-in class AED

In choosing the right AED device for your home or organization, the LIFEPAK CR2 available through Workplace Medical offers enhanced life-saving features. In comparison to leading AED’s, it is 35 seconds quicker in delivering the first shock, making it the fastest device on the market today. A sudden cardiac arrest means every second counts, and expediency in AED devices is an absolute necessity. The CR2’s easy-to-follow graphics and ClearVoice™ instructions are supplemented with a bilingual feature, ensuring English and French speakers across Canada can understand the instructions provided in their language of choice. CprINSIGHT™ analysis technology detects heart rhythms during CPR, ensuring accuracy in prompts to deliver treatment, alternating between defibrillation and chest compressions. Capable of escalating energy, delivering a maximum shock of 360J, the CR2 has a child mode so that it can be used on anyone that needs it.

Seamlessly integrated wireless (Wi-Fi/cellular) capability gives first responders a look at events in real-time, so that when they arrive to aid a patient, they are prepared to deal with the situation at hand. The LIFELINKcentral AED Program Manager™ also enables easy access to location tracking, condition and readiness of each device in your stock, reducing the frequency of physical inspections of each individual AED. Your organization can instantly know when a device needs service or replacement, reducing the risk that an AED won’t properly functioning when needed. Going beyond usability, the CR2’s four-year battery life is consistent with AED industry requirements, while the 8-year warranty surpasses the current industry best of 5 years.