Closest Is "Best"
There are many AED products on the market. The "best" AED is the one that is closest in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). No AED has been proven to be scientifically superior to the others and, because of the nature of the product, it is unlikely that there will ever be a Consumer Reports-type rating of these medical devices.
All AEDs Are FDA-Approved
There are eight manufacturers making AEDs for use in the United States. Each device has been thoroughly tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
What follows are some suggestions and factors that may guide you in your search for an AED for use by your school, youth sports club, business or facility. After you have reviewed this list, click here for a side-by-side comparison of several of the AEDs that are available in the United States.
Ask For Advice
There are a number of sources to which you can turn for information and advice about AEDs:
Medical Director. Your program will require medical direction. Ask your physician whether he or she recommends one model over another and why.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Ask your local ambulance squad the same question. Often members of this group will have experience with AEDs in other facilities and can comment on their strengths and weaknesses.
Organizations Similar To Yours. Find out what AEDs have been selected by other youth sports programs, organizations or businesses similar to yours in your area, why they made their selection, and whether they are satisfied with their choice.
If you are choosing a second, third or fourth AED for your facility/program/organization, it is generally a good idea to buy the same model as you already have, unless there is some problem with it or there is some compelling reason to switch. There is a real advantage to having all AEDs your organization uses be the same model.
Does the AED alert the rescuer if a second shock is required? A patent's heart will frequently lapse back into a life-threatening arrhythmia even after a successful shock, a phenomenon called refibrillation. A timely response to refibrillation is vital, as every minute of delay reduces the chance of survival by approximately 7 to 10%. Look for an AED that not only provides continuous monitoring of the patient's heart rhythm, but alerts the responder quickly if a shockable rhythm is detected.
Does the AED have a system to accurately detect life-threatening arrhythmias? While all AEDs have a system to detect life-threatening arrhythmias and deliver therapy, not all systems are the same. Manufacturers should meet or exceed performance requirements and standards established by the Association Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the American Heart Association (AHA). To reduce the possibility of inappropriate delivery of a shock, look for an AED that provides an exceptional level of accuracy.
Be Wary Of Sales Hype
The one he is selling is always the best. It is unlikely that any single distributor sells every model of AED available. It is even more unlikely that a sales rep. for any distributor will conclude that an AED he does not sell is superior to one he does.
Take criticisms of competitors' AEDs with a grain of salt. Too often, sales reps focus more on what is wrong with a competitor's AED than the real strengths of their own. Often their criticism of the competition is exaggerated or simply wrong. Take good notes and, when the competition shows up, ask about the weaknesses of their AED that the competitor's sales rep. #1 pointed out to you. You will get an answer, but don't be surprised if sales rep. #2 counters with weaknesses in the model being sold by the first guy. It's the nature of the beast. Be critical of anything you are told especially if it isn't backed up in writing.