What’s the Best Automated External Defibrillator for a Hospital?

Categories: Best AED Recommendations

Hospitals, by law, are required to keep automated external defibrillators (AEDs) onsite for professional and public use. As explained by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), hospitals are one of the places where public access AEDs are kept. Although trained medical professionals like emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics will usually rely on professional-grade manual defibrillators, AEDs are still valuable for immediate public use in an emergency.

If you are in charge of purchasing an automated external defibrillator for a healthcare facility or medical transport vehicle, becoming familiar with the best FDA-approved defibrillators for hospitals—and the features they have to offer—will help you to be an informed buyer.

Philips HeartStart FRx

The Philips HeartStart FRx (produced by the same manufacturer as the Philips HeartStart Onsite AED) is an excellent portable defibrillator for hospital settings thanks to its rugged construction, visual icons, optional CPR voice instructions, child-infant key, and compatibility with advanced defibrillators.

Rugged Construction

In a sudden cardiac arrest situation, every minute counts. That’s why it’s important to choose a portable defibrillator that can withstand drops, vibrations, water, and dust. To make sure it will work in a hospital even if it gets dropped on the way, this Philips AED device:

  • Can withstand drops onto a masonry surface up to 4 feet (1.22 meters)
  • Meets MIL-STD 810G Fig. 5146E-1, random for vibration when operating and Fig. 5146E-2, swept sine (helicopter) for vibration in standby mode
  • Meets IEC 60529 class IP55 water and dust requirements, protecting the device if it gets splashed with bodily fluids, cleaning liquids, or dirt

Visual Prompts

In a noisy setting like a hospital, visual prompts are essential to ensure that the AED user can treat the cardiac arrest victim effectively even if they can’t hear the device. The flashing icons on the Philips HeartStart FRx are easy to understand in noisy environments and assist lay rescuers who might be retrieving the AED as a public access device.

Optional CPR Voice Instructions

The Philips HeartStart FRx AED has voice instructions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation that can be turned on or off as required. This is perfect for healthcare facilities where medical professionals who have already received advanced life support and CPR training may find the instructions distracting.

Child/Infant Key

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to children as well as adults. Instead of requiring the owner to purchase child pads every two years or have a separate pediatric AED, the Philip HeartStart FRx AED comes with the cost-saving feature of the Philips Infant/Child Key (sold separately) that attenuates the dose of the electric shock. This makes the Philips HeartStart FRx one of the most cost-efficient devices in the industry.

Compatibility with EMS Equipment

The defibrillator pads that come with the Philips HeartStart FRx are compatible with the advanced defibrillators used by medical professionals, allowing for a seamless transfer and complete continuity of care. Whether the cardiac arrest occurs inside or outside the hospital, this continuity of care makes the HeartStart FRx one of the best AEDs for hospitals.

HeartSine Samaritan PAD Series

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD series of automated external defibrillators is another excellent option for healthcare facilities, thanks to these devices’ extremely rugged and lightweight construction. This series consists of the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P, HeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P, and HeartSine Samaritan PAD 450P.

There are several features that make these some of the best AEDs for hospitals.

Most Light Weight and Rugged AED Device on the Market

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD series AEDs are the lightest of all of the FDA-approved automatic external defibrillators. At only 2.4 lbs, they come with just over half of the weight of the Philips HeartStart FRx. While these AEDs are small and light, they are extremely durable—passing military drop standards and IP56 for water and dust.

SCOPE Biphasic Technology

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD series defibrillators use the brand’s proprietary SCOPE biphasic technology to deliver the most appropriate shock based on the patient’s heart rhythm. This makes the electrical shock as effective as possible, no matter how much patient impedance there is.

Simple Operation

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P and HeartSine Samaritan PAD 450P offer a simple two-button operation—an on/off button to activate the device and another button to deliver a shock. The HeartSine Samaritan PAD 360P is a fully automatic AED with a single button to power the device on. All three models provide easy-to-follow voice instructions and a metronome for chest compressions.

Combined Pad and Battery Packs

Keeping track of expiration dates for batteries and electrode pads can get complicated—especially in a hospital where there are a lot of medical supplies that need to be kept up to date. To make replacement easier, the Samaritan PAD series AEDs come with combined pad-and-battery packs that only need replacing every four years. Please note that the child pad and battery pack and adult pad and battery pack are sold separately.

Real-Time CPR Feedback

The Samaritan PAD 450P offers real-time feedback on the depth of chest compressions in addition to the features described above. For less experienced rescuers, this is an invaluable feature to have. While medical professionals may be the ones to respond to sudden cardiac arrest in patients, a lay responder may use a hospital AED device to help a victim of SCA nearby, and this feedback will help them to provide high-quality CPR.

Integrated Wi-Fi Connectivity

The HeartSine Samaritan PAD series defibrillators come with integrated Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can check the readiness of the device(s) remotely using the LIFELINKcentral AED Program Manager. When a healthcare facility has multiple wings and several AEDs to test and maintain, being able to check their readiness virtually makes it much easier to comply with AED maintenance requirements.


ZOLL—named after defibrillation pioneer Paul Zoll—has been an industry leader for over 25 years and continues to be one of the brands most commonly used by EMS professionals. For hospitals, the ZOLL AED Plus is a great AED machine to have on hand thanks to its easy-to-use features, real-time CPR feedback, and long pad and battery life.

Easy to Use

The ZOLL AED Plus comes in semi-automatic and fully automatic models, depending on whether you prefer to press the shock button when advised or let the device deliver the shock automatically. Whichever option you choose, the machines offer the same visual and audio prompts to start CPR and analyze the patient’s heart rhythm to see whether an AED shockable rhythm is present (ventricular fibrillation or pulseless tachycardia).

CPR Feedback

Medical professionals are used to delivering high-quality CPR, but others present in a hospital—or who go to the hospital for a public access AED—may have never given chest compressions before. To help the rescuer deliver high-quality CPR, the ZOLL AED Plus provides feedback in real-time about the user’s CPR technique and instructs the rescuer to “push harder” if the compressions aren’t reaching an appropriate depth.

Long Pad and Battery Life

Like the HeartSine Samaritan PAD AEDs, the ZOLL AED Plus comes with lithium batteries and adult AED pads that expire at the same time, although they are sold separately rather than together. In this case, the batteries and electrode pads last for five years—saving you money on replacements. ZOLL pediatric pads are sold separately for this portable device and also last for five years.

Other Essential Elements of a Hospital AED Program

In addition to the automated external defibrillator itself, hospital-based AED programs need to comply with all of the AED regulations in your state that pertain to public access AED programs. Depending on your location, this may include:

  • Oversight from a medical professional (this could be a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse, or naturopath, depending on the state)
  • Annual or bi-annual AED training for all potential users, that includes special situations like a patient with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or another medical device like a pacemaker
  • AED maintenance and testing following the AED manufacturers’ instructions and any additional state laws
  • Access and signage requirements, such as clear arrows and signs indicating the location of each AED
  • Post-event data download, reporting, and psychological support for rescuers and witnesses of the collapse

As most hospitals have several wings, office buildings, and even multiple locations (in the case of a franchise), AED program management can help you keep track of all your devices, expiration dates, and maintenance so that you know your automated external defibrillators are ready to use. The best defibrillators for hospitals need to be ready for action 24/7. Make sure you’re ready to save a life.