Persistent misunderstandings

Automated External Defibrillators are life saving devices which give lay-people the opportunity, in contrast to earlier days when this task was restricted to doctors and specialist nurses. In a short time the AED has become very popular. There are as a result many of suppliers in the market. A large number of these are (re-)sellers who only want to sell the newest popular product, without having resuscitation experience or a suitable medical background. These (re-)sellers circulate specious stories designed to cloud your judgment and prevent you from making a sensible decision. In order to counter this we list below the most common of those stories:  

Purchase the same AED your local ambulance service has”:


AED suppliers who also suggest ambulance monitors, use this argument for an acceptable reason. However we disagree on this matter. At first the most important minutes to save a person’s life are the minutes immediately after a heart attack (read: the ambulance hasn’t even arrived yet). Most professional AED’s are more expensive than public AED’s. Remember that the local ambulance service changes AED brands more frequently and that their equipment wears out more often. More important is to purchase an AED which is affordable and will be convenient to use. We therefore recommend that you consider various brands before purchasing. A good way to do this is by examining the lifetime cost of each AED.  If you buy an AED brand used in your ambulance service, it could mean that you are paying hundreds of pounds too much for an AED and that does not meet your requirements. Do not allow this argument to restrict your choice. In the second place, ambulance services change more frequently to a different monitor brand. This makes it very difficult and expensive for you to be "compatible"  with the ambulance service! However if at this point you still find compatibility with the ambulance service very important then it is good to know that there are special spacers on the market in addition to connect your AED to the monitor of the ambulance service. In our opinion, ambulance services should be able to work with all AED’s.

  Their AED does not provide enough energy to defibrillate successfully” or “Their AED provides too much energy, which could harm the patient’s heart”.


Several years ago all new defibrillators including AED’s turned to biphasic technology, as it were bidirectional shock. Some manufacturers patented their procedure for shock provision and discovered that successful defibrillation could also be accomplished at lower power levels. Other manufacturers, who had also adopted biphasic technology, continued with higher single phase power levels in order to achieve a better result. Several marketing campaigns were launched then in which each method asserted its superiority to the other. Heart damage can be caused by patients receiving excess shock. Fortunately however AED’s do not reach these harmful energy levels. Some AEDs are "non-escalating" which means that the current is always the same, but once more, no difference in effectiveness has been detected. Summing up, there is no independent scientific research or publication indicating that that either technique saves more lives than the other!

  Their AED is difficult to operate


All AED’s are easy to use after following an AED-training course. Purchase an AED that makes you feel comfortable. Don’t let a sales-person tell you what is difficult and what’s not: this choice is entirely up to you and to nobody else!