Evaluation Background: External Manual Defibrillators

August 15, 2018 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of external manual defibrillators, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings and ECRI Institute's data describing hospitals' interest in each vendor.

External manual defibrillators allow operators to assess and monitor a patient's ECG and, when necessary, treat certain abnormal heart rhythms by delivering shocks of specified energies and modalities to defibrillate the heart, to provide synchronized cardioversion, or to externally pace the heart. Other common capabilities include monitoring blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation (pulse oximetry SpO2), and end-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2).

Defibrillators are a mature technology. They have been used for many years, with only incremental changes occurring in recent years. Some of those changes include more advanced monitoring capabilities; reduced size and weight; algorithms to support detection of certain rhythms, such as ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI); and increased connectivity, such as by Bluetooth, 3G cellular network, or Wi-Fi.

The major components of an external manual defibrillator include:

  1. Defibrillator equipped with an ECG monitor and an external pacemaker

  2. Disposable adhesive defibrillation electrodes or reusable paddles

  3. Monitoring accessories, such as ECG leads, noninvasive blood pressure (NIBP) cuff, or SpO2 sensor

  4. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation...

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