The Different Types of AED Monitors


If you or someone you love has struggled with heart problems, you may have considered purchasing an automatic external defibrillator (or AED) monitor. Maybe you are a business owner and you want to safeguard your employees, or you manage a public space. AED monitors are not just for emergency rooms or ambulances anymore. Trips to the hospital are timely, and traffic can be dense, causing obstacles when attempting to get to medical professionals.

Whatever your reason, keep your options open when choosing between the different types of AED monitors. You will want to be assured it is FDA approved at a price point that is affordable, user friendly, and reliable. Perhaps dual languages will also be on your list of necessities.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of AED monitors and how to choose which is best for your circumstances.

What is an AED?

An automatic external defibrillator (or AED) is a battery-operated device that scans the heart rhythm of a victim suffering a cardiac arrest and delivers an electric shock to restore the heartbeat. It is lightweight and portable, equipped with electrodes used to deliver electric shocks.

AEDs are smart medical devices that can be semi-automatic or fully automatic and can be used by both people with medical training and lay people. They should be available in almost all public spaces with a lot of traffic but can also be used in a home environment.

What to Look For in an AED Monitor?

When purchasing an AED monitor, consider the factors of reliability and ease of use. During an emergency, you will need to respond quickly, and having a device that is complicated to use won’t be helpful.

A defibrillator is a device used to restore the rhythm of the heart in the event it stops, so reliability is crucial. So depending on the type you need, ensure that you can count on the AED monitor during an emergency.

The most important thing to ensure when choosing what you will use as an AED monitor will be whether it is FDA-approved. You can visit the FDA website for a complete list of all devices and their accessories that have received this certification. For FDA purposes, they are considered approved regardless of your purchase date.

There is also the possibility of selecting an AED monitor with a dual language function for people who are not English speakers and will use the AED monitor.

What Are the Different Types of AED Monitors?

AEDs can provide the lifesaving electrical shock to reanimate a heart that has ceased pumping blood. However, there are different types of AED monitors that perform different functions. One monitors the heart’s electrical activity, another will provide information on the heartbeat and monitor the heart rate.

Choosing the right AED monitor for personal use will depend on your medical condition. In consultation with a doctor, you will select the one that is most suitable for your condition. Let’s look at the other types of monitors that can be used for personal use and in public spaces.

Cardiac Monitor

A cardiac monitor is also called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or ICD. This is a portable device that is connected to your heart. The cardiac monitor will be implanted under your skin and can continually monitor your heart rate.

For an individual with an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias, the cardiac monitor will detect the problematic heart rate and deliver a strong shock to the heart. This will help the heart to regain the normal rhythm. Heart function monitoring is important if a person suffers from ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.

A heart surgeon is the only person that can implant this device. It can be used to treat various heart problems, arrhythmia, tachycardia, bradycardia, and can prevent sudden cardiac arrest. A cardiac monitor also has the ability to record important data about your heart rate so your doctor can review it.

ECG Monitor

Doctors use ECG monitors in a hospital setting, but you can also use them at home. Unlike expensive professional ECG monitors, personal ECG monitors are low-cost and simple to use. This convenient and portable device helps to monitor the heart for any cardiac inconsistency. It will sometimes be used in conjunction with a stress test as it provides printable data that can be evaluated over time.

An ECG monitor measures the electrical activity connected with the heart as opposed to just the heart rate. Thus, it provides your doctor with a more detailed picture of what’s happening with the heart. However, this type of monitor is for collecting data only. It is not capable of delivering a shock to the heart. Your doctor may require you to wear the monitor for 24 to 72 hours or sometimes even up to seven days.

Arrhythmia Monitor

An arrhythmia monitor is also called a Holter monitor. The arrhythmia monitor is wearable and provides even more details than an ECG monitor. This can be particularly helpful for someone who has infrequent arrhythmia, which is not as easily detected.

Although this is a wearable device, it is connected with electrodes on your chest. There is no surgery or implantation under the skin required. Your doctor may ask you to wear the device for multiple days – even while asleep – as opposed to hours.

Similar to an ECG monitor, this device is for monitoring your heart rate only. It will not deliver a shock to your heart, but the information it provides can be lifesaving.

Heart Rate Monitor

A heart rate monitor is a rather simple device that can provide important information for the person wearing it. You may be wearing one right now on your wrist in the form of a smartwatch or fitness tracker. The heart rate monitor can provide real-time information regarding how fast your heart is beating.

Knowing how fast your heart is working during a run is necessary information for someone with a heart condition. You can learn how far you should push your heart through consultations with your doctor and know when to pull back. The device can also store information in an app for your doctor to evaluate with you later. This may be the first line of defense in protecting your heart if there aren’t major underlying problems.

Multifunction Monitor

An AED monitor can serve as a multifunction monitor due to its ability to perform all of the functions of each of the previously mentioned monitors. The AED can monitor heart rate, detect an arrhythmia, measure the heartbeat, and monitor the heart’s electrical activity.

Most modern AEDs are considered multifunction monitors because they include the features provided by each AED monitor individually. That way, they allow getting correct readings when a victim suffers a cardiac arrest.

Multifunction AEDs are incredibly easy to use with voice instruction, graphics, and simple designs. When a user is not familiar with CPR or is uncertain of the procedure, the AED can guide the user through the steps.

Final Thoughts

AEDs can be lifesaving in an emergency as they allow an electrical shock to be administered to the victim outside of a hospital or before emergency teams arrive. They are already available in many schools, shopping centers, public transportation, and offices. Familiarize yourself with AED locations in the areas which you frequent most. Sign up for a CPR and AED use the course to prepare yourself in case of an emergency.

If you have or are concerned about a heart condition, then maybe a cardiac monitor, ECG monitor, arrhythmia monitor, or heart monitor is the right choice for you. If you are trying to ascertain your heart’s condition with the help of your doctor, then you might need an ECG or arrhythmia monitor. If you need the functionality of a device that can deliver a shock, you might ask your doctor about a cardiac monitor.

These devices help to safeguard your health and provide feedback to medical professionals so you can make health decisions together. Consult with your healthcare professional to find the solution which is right for you.