The Better AED; Zoll AED 3 vs. Heartsine Samaritan
All averages being equal, if you suffer a cardiac arrest, you stand a one in ten chance of survival.
That number goes up if you have one near someone who knows CPR, and goes up even more if there is an AED unit nearby. In fact, these numbers have been slowly ticking up every year since we started tracking this data.
Most organizations divide heart attacks by those in public settings, otherwise known as Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests (OHCAs) versus those under the watchful eye of medical professionals.
Should you have one, you may have mixed feelings about being in a hospital when it happens. Sure, it’s nice to be in the ideal place to have one, but it begs the question: why were you there in the first place?
The solution isn’t to move the public into hospitals full-time. What will push the needle past the ten per cent mark faster? Do we empower the public or hold out for artificial intelligence (AI) to save more lives?
Since we’re not yet there with AI, we need more access to AEDs and more people who aren’t afraid to use one.
To cover the largest segment of situations, we must get more AED units where people can access them quickly. We also have to make sure they know where those AED units are located, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.
To get more units in more places, we have to then ask, which AED unit is most ideal for the most situations?
Zoll makes AED units which work with parts made by another AED manufacturer, Laerdal. They make the accessories that go with Zoll’s units, like pads, batteries, and other parts.
The other company that some feel is a better option is Heartsine. We’ll get into why that might be in a second. Heartsine operates as a self-contained manufacturer of parts and units.
Both Zoll and Heartsine have compelling origin stories, also coming in a second.
So who makes the better unit? Both of them offer friendly, fully-automated AED units. Zoll has their AED 3. Heartsine offers their Samaritan.
We’re going to put them head to head in a second, but first, we should look at the Zoll and Heartsine brands. The best unit in the world is no good if made by a company that goes under tomorrow.
Zoll AED Company
Founder Paul M. Zoll was the first person to successfully use external defibrillation to regulate heart rhythms. That was way back in 1956, but Dr Zoll had been researching this technology for years before succeeding.
For many decision-makers, this is all they need to know to decide on Zoll. No doubt, Zoll is a reputable brand from a reputable name, but Zoll Medical Corporation is not the company Dr Zoll started in the 50s.
Today they produce a variety of defibrillators, and automated devices designed to monitor patients and keep them alive. Dr Zoll was so well regarded, Harvard University in the USA, made him their clinical professor of medicine, emeritus, in 1977.
Three years later he incorporated the Zoll name, along with a cadre of investors. Over the next decade, the Zoll brand led the pacemaker and defibrillator market, going public in 1992.
To this day, Zoll remains committed to Dr Zoll’s first mission, improving resuscitation through technology. Zoll, the man, passed away on January 5, 1999, but his vision remains strong in the company he created.
While it might sound like Zoll raised the bar too high for anyone else to compete in the market, that didn’t stop Heartsine from taking Zoll’s defibrillator idea to the next level.
Prior to Heartsine, defibrillators were cumbersome operations, a key element of crash carts, plugged into strong power sources. They were not as portable, certainly not accessible as they are today.
The founder of Heartsine, Professor John Anderson, ran in the same circles as Paul Zoll and as such, persued the similar goals. Anderson was a researcher in the 60s, one tasked to take what human knew about defibrillation and adapt it to a portable format.
By 1966, other researchers had created a meaty (50 kilo) device that was somewhat portable, giving birth to the first mobile care units for coronary events.
It didn’t take long for people in both Zoll’s and Anderson’s camps to realize that further portability was the future of AEDs, but it was Anderson who did it first in 1967. He had joined the original team of researchers to become part of the team that would change the future.
With his help, they dropped the 50 kilos AED down to 20 kilos. It was still heavy, but it was more portable than the first version.
By the 1970s, they’d brought it down to 7 kilos, rechargeable, and the new standard for defibrillation. For fans of Heartsine, Anderson’s early innovations is what makes them loyal fans.
Zoll AED 3
A far cry from what Anderson's team first invented, the Zoll AED 3 a nice upgrade from its predecessor, the AED Plus. This is primarily due to the fully automated aspect of the unit plus the low cost of management.
While the AED 3 does cost users more upfront (about $500) it saves them on accessory costs.
Pads for the AED 3 work on both adults and children. They also last for five years, as does the unit’s battery. It gets better, though. because the AED 3 connects to your wireless network and can, therefore, connect to ZOLL’s PlusTrac™ AED program management system.
This unit renders inspection nearly obsolete. If there is anything needed with the maintenance of your AED 3, you’ll receive an email alerting you to the matter right away.
It also keeps track of pad and battery life so you also will receive notifications when those need replacing.
The 3 comes in semi and fully-automated versions, but with the fully automated version, the unit is more available to more people.
Other than carrying the actual unit, a mere 2.2 kilos, to a victim, and following the device’s instructions, the AED 3 does all the difficult work. It even recharges in ten seconds from a full battery.
Of course, someone has to swap out new pads or a new battery if warranted, but it’s still a massive leap from Dr Zoll’s first external defibrillator.
It won’t be long before AI does all the heavy lifting, defibrillation included. You can believe Zoll will be at the forefront of that technology.
Heartsine Samaritan AED
For their heavyweight contender, Heartsine offers their Samaritan AED unit, otherwise known as the 500p. If you thought the AED 3 was more impressive than the story of Dr Zoll’s own story, the Samaritan will at least equally impress you.
It is also an automated device, but what the Heartsine Samaritan offers that other AEDs cannot is CPR feedback. It’s a point of fact that a combination of CPR and AED offers a cardiac arrest victim the best chance of survival.
It’s true that even bad CPR is better than none at all, but the Samaritan aims to improve your compressions with constant feedback derived from feedback via the patient's nervous system.
That way, as a first responder, you can deliver the most effective chest compressions with cues like “push harder” or “good compressions” from the Samaritan.What’s more, if you thought 2.2 kilos was a drastic drop in weight from those first portable defibrillators, the Samaritan comes in at half that weight, 1.1 kilos. EVERYONE can carry and use the Samaritan 500p.
Which AED is the Best?
For someone who wants an all-encompassing, lightweight unit that “does it all,” the Samaritan edges out Zoll’s AED 3 with a lighter design and more features.
For users who prefer to work with a more popular brand, Zoll has more edge.
Perhaps because of Dr Zoll’s name or more strategic marketing, Zoll outsells Heartsine. Rest assured, picking one over the other will prove little difference for saving lives over the other.
They are both impressive units from two of the most important brands in the medical technology field.
Regarding the depressing data on survival rates and what you can do. This is it: The Restart a Heart group intends to change this ten per cent survival data with their Restart a Heart Day, taking place on October 16.
Medshop Australia is a proud sponsor of that event, and it is 100 per cent the reason behind us creating this blog. That, and giving you our two cents on the matter of AEDs.