Differences Between AEDs for Public Use and Professional Medical Defibrillators

Cardiac arrest is a rising health concern in Australia, affecting around 2% of people at any point in their life. According to the National Health Survey 2022, this makes up around 430,000 of the total Australian population. Many of these cases can lead to death, but some can be easily prevented with timely defibrillation.

Defibrillators restore normal heartbeat in a person experiencing a cardiac arrest. These devices send electrical shocks to the heart to revive its normal functioning. When someone suffers a heart attack and a bystander quickly uses a defibrillator with CPR, they may be able to save the patient until the ambulance arrives. 

When it comes to defibrillators, there are primarily two types: an automated external defibrillator (AED) for public use and a professional defibrillator used at hospitals. While both devices work for the same goal, they are actually quite different. 

In this post, we will explore AEDs and professional defibrillators to help you understand the differences between both cardiac emergency response tools.

Understanding Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a public-used defibrillator that automatically identifies irregular heartbeats indicating a cardiac arrest. The device utilises electrical therapy to send automated shocks to the patient’s heart to restore its normal rhythm. 

AEDs come with simple step-by-step instructions and visual and audio prompts, making them easy for an inexperienced person to use. 

At Team Med, we have a wide range of easily-to-use AED models with all the necessary features for instant treatment. These include real-time feedback about the chest compressions during CPR through visuals, cloud connectivity for automated AED readiness reporting, CPR pads, long shelf-life, and more. 

Professional Medical Defibrillators

Professional medical or manual external defibrillators (MED) are more specialised than AEDs. They are designed to be used by trained professionals only, such as doctors, surgeons, EMTs, paramedics, etc., at hospitals and ambulances. The device helps identify the problem with the heart and restore it to its normal rate.

Unlike AEDs, professional defibrillators allow doctors to assess when, how often, and how much shock energy a patient needs. It also offers many advanced features, such as ECG monitoring, synchronised cardioversion, and pacing capabilities. 

Key Differences Between AEDs and Professional Defibrillators

The main differences between AEDs and professional defibrillators lie in their operation and capabilities. Here is a detailed overview of both types of devices:

User Interface

AEDs have a simple, user-friendly interface since they are designed for non-medical individuals. These are lightweight, portable devices about the size of a standard handbag or mini briefcase. AEDs give clear instructions through visuals and auditory prompts to guide users through the entire defibrillation process.

A regular AED kit has an AED machine, a couple of replacement pads, and a battery. Now, there are two types of AEDs: fully automatic and semi-automatic.

With a fully automatic AED, you will have to attach the pads to the location as guided by the machine’s voice or visuals. It will analyse the patient’s heartbeat and send shocks on its own. Comparatively, with the semi-automatic AED, you will have to press the shock button every time you want to deliver the shock.

Professional defibrillators are larger devices that are stored in a cart. They have more advanced user interfaces with additional settings and options. 

Only professionals trained or familiar with defibrillation protocols can use these devices as they are fully manual. The doctor has to choose the treatment mode and energy level suitable to the patient’s needs. Then, they press the shock button to send the electrical impulses. 

Features and Functionalities

AEDs typically have automated features that don’t require manual input except for connecting the device to the patient. They analyse heart rhythms to see if a shock is needed and only deliver it when they detect anything shockable. These rhythm analysis and shock delivery features work on auto-pilot.

AED’s adhesive electrode pads deliver shocks at a defined energy level (200 joules). However, some models may also deliver higher energy.

On the other hand, professional defibrillators offer more diverse features and functionalities than AEDs. They support manual override capabilities, allowing the doctor to determine the shock intensity and the time and frequency to press the shock button.

With these machines, you can adjust energy levels and choose specialised modes for different patients. This gives you more control over defibrillation than AEDs, but only if you’re a professional. 

Real-time Feedback and Advanced Capabilities

Most AEDs are integrated with tools that provide real-time feedback about the CPR quality and the chest compression rate. They display the results via vivid images, cycle timers, and colour bar gauges. However, AEDs lack advanced monitoring capabilities like those with professional defibrillators.

Manual or professional defibrillators offer all the functions of AEDs (like real-time feedback), but with many additional features. They provide ECG waveform analysis, synchronised cardioversion, and pacing modes, which are important for treating complicated cardiac arrest cases at hospitals. 

AEDs and Professional Defibrillators: Models and Manufacturers

When searching for the best medical equipment, you will likely come across many models and manufacturers of AEDs and professional defibrillators.

AED Models at Team Medical

If you’re specifically looking for AEDs, here are some excellent options to browse at Team Med:

    • Zoll AED Plus Semi Automatic Defibrillator: It offers superior functionality due to its integration with Real CPR Help, a tool for monitoring CPR quality and having real-time feedback about chest compressions. The AED Plus also comes with visual and audio signals for user-friendliness. 
    • Zoll AED 3 Fully Automatic Defibrillator: This relatively new AED model is integrated with Real CPR for assessing chest compression insights during CPR. The AED 3 also offers CPR Uni-padz electrodes for both adults and children and cloud connectivity for automated AED readiness reports. 
    • Defibrillator Zoll AED Pro Manual: The AED Pro Manual comes with semi-automatic or automatic operating modes with manual override. It is also integrated with Real CPR Help for in-depth chest compression insights during CPR. Moreover, this AED model offers ECG monitoring with a high-quality display, see-thru CPR, and the ability to withstand a 1.5-metre drop test. 
  • IPAD CU-SP1 AED Defibrillator: The new SP1 iPAD AED is an easy-to-use compact and lightweight semi-automatic defibrillator. It automatically performs rhythm analysis and shock delivery, making it ideal for untrained individuals. The unique thing about it is that it automatically adjusts its prompts’ volume based on ambient noise, allowing you to hear them easily. 

Implementation and Training

Whether you opt for an AED or a professional defibrillator, you must be trained in using and maintaining it. 

Training Requirements

As you now know, you don’t need any sort of professional training to use AEDs. However, you do need awareness training about basic CPR and proper usage of AED to be able to respond immediately in cases of sudden cardiac arrests. 

On the other hand, professional training is mandatory for those who use manual defibrillators. It helps healthcare providers easily interpret ECG rhythms, safely operate the machine, and make informed decisions during emergencies.

Maintenance and Readiness

AEDs deployed at workplaces, airports, or shopping malls must be regularly checked for maintenance and readiness. It includes battery checks, pad expiration monitoring, and overall device functionality. 

The same goes for professional defibrillators. Healthcare facilities must hire trained biomedical technicians to keep the machines fit for emergencies. It involves regular checks for device functionality, calibration, and proper electrode placement.  

Contact us Today

AEDs and professional defibrillators are both essential for restoring irregular cardiac rhythm by sending shock waves to the heart. 

AEDs are portable, lightweight devices that automatically perform rhythm analysis and shock delivery. Meanwhile, professional defibrillators are manual machines requiring users to adjust energy levels and choose specialised modes, shock intensity, and the time and frequency to press the shock button.

Check out Team Medical’s catalogue for the best AED models and accessories. You can also seek guidance from our team of professionals by calling us on 1300 22 44 50.