If all that stands between you and death is the shock that can be generated by a defibrillator, you want to purchase one that is going to be dependable. Needing a jolt from this device and not being able to count on it can be the difference between life and death.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a computerized device used for medical purposes. It aids first-responders, emergency personnel, and other people who are attempting to save the life of a person who has just experienced cardiac arrest. AED use is recommended in the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act (H.R. 2498) as a life-saving device needed for all federal buildings.
The American Heart Association does not recommend any particular type of AED, and there are many brands in existence. One of these is the Powerheart AED G3, manufactured by Cardiac Science. Another AED, Zoll AED Plus, is manufactured by Zoll Medical Corp. Not all AED’s are equal in dependability or function.
Powerheart G3 Automatic
Cardiac Science‘s Powerheart G3 AED is available in automatic and semi-automatic forms. The automatic doesn’t require the press of a button to initiate the device’s shock capability. It analyzes the heart rhythm, determining just when the shock is needed. Then the machine warns the user (via the text display on the machine as well as through a audible command), to step away from the victim while the shock is administered. This machine, as well as its semi-automatic counterpart, has a seven-year warranty and provides consumers with a four-year guarantee that battery will remain operational and will be be replaced as needed.
Powerheart G3 Semi-Automatic
The semi-automatic version of the Powerheart G3 does require the user to press a button to initiate shock treatment. But the semi-automatic model–and the automatic Powerheart G3s–perform daily self-tests on device hardware and its components (software, pads, battery). Self-testing ensures that the device will work in an emergency.
Both versions of the Powerheart also partially charge the electronics in the system every week. They also complete a full charge on their own each month, to ensure that all electronics are operating at full potential all the time.
Zoll AED Plus FDA Recall
Unlike the Powerheart G3 manufacturer, the Zoll AED Plus manufacturer has not been as progressive in taking steps to eliminate the potential for device failure during a crisis. In February 2009, the Food and Drug Administration issued a Class I Recall of the Zoll AED Plus because of device failure.
This recall stemmed from a case in which a semi-automatic Zoll AED Plus defibrillator failed to perform as expected. The energy needed for the charge did not occur, and the shock could not be delivered. The company has been required to inform consumers of the need to replace the battery for this device once every three years, and to download new software for the device.