Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are a life-saving investment. There are a wide range of AEDs to choose from. Many manufacturers will offer the option of either semi-automatic or fully automatic devices with additional functionalities.

The difference between the two is if a shockable rhythm is detected with the semi-automatic device the rescuer needs to press a button for the shock to be delivered when instructed, the fully automatic does not. The fully automatic has no button and will deliver the shock without the need of the rescuer if a shockable heart rhythm is detected.


Benefits of a semi-automatic defibrillator

Semi-automatic AEDs give the rescuer control over the situation, ensuring nobody is in contact with the patient's body at the time of the shock. No AED will shock unless an irregular heart rhythm is detected but it does not determine if someone is touching the patient. Delivering a shock while another person is touching a patient may reduce the overall shock delivered and impact the rescue.

Benefits of a fully automatic defibrillator

When using a fully automatic AED, the rescuer is not responsible for pushing the button. Instead, they will make sure no one is touching the patient when the shock is delivered. A fully automatic device will give a detailed countdown before delivering the shock, an example would be ‘shock advised. Do not touch the patient, do not touch the patient. Shock will be delivered in 3, 2, 1 – shock delivered, start CPR’

The rescuers only duty with a fully automatic AED is to apply the pads and listen carefully to the device voice instructions with CPR being performed after the shock.

What do both semi and fully have in common?

Both semi and fully automatic AEDs require the pads to be applied to the patient by the rescuer before the shock is delivered. Neither semi or fully will shock a patient without detecting an irregular heart rhythm, so there is no risk of accidentally shocking the patient who is still conscious and not in sudden cardiac arrest.

Voice instructions will be provided as soon as the AED is switched on to talk the rescuer through the rescue process. Both semi and fully automatic device provide the rescuer with CPR feedback, once the shock has been delivered the AED produces a metronome to keep the CPR compressions consistent.

How do I choose between and semi and a fully automatic AED?

Both are equally effective at saving lives when it matters. No AED is in anyway ‘better’ than others when it comes to delivering the shock during a rescue. The choices when purchasing an AED fall with the additional features it has. Extra factors to consider are CPR Help & Coaching, Child switch (Paediatric) and Electrocardiography (ECG), just some of the additional features that are available.

Both semi and fully automatic AEDs are equally an excellent choice. Every AED purchased plays an important part in potential future sudden cardiac arrests being treated quickly and efficiently no matter if this is a semi or a fully automatic unit.


More Information

For more information or advice on topics surrounding defibrillators and Sudden Cardiac Arrest, visit our Resource Centre or get in touch with a member of the team.

defibshop are committed to equipping everyone with the skills and knowledge to save a life. Speak to one of our Product Specialists on 0161 776 7422 or fill out our Contact Form.