Approximately 400,000 people are impacted by sudden cardiac arrest each year in the US.  Good CPR training has heightened survival rates in most metropolitan areas where emergency medical services can be activated and on the scene within minutes, but chest compression will not restart the heart and what are you going to do on a boat, even a few miles out?  Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) have recently appeared everywhere and can be used by absolute lay personnel with no training to assist when the heart enters a chaotic rhythm, typically ventricular fibrillation.  It seems like common sense for a cruising couple to have one onboard.

There are a number of AEDs to choose from but HeartSine is marketing one that might make extra sense for boaters.  At only 2 ½ pounds, the Samaritan Pad is compact and lightweight for easy storage.  It has only 1 expiry date (a cartridge shelf life of 3 ½ years) and is water resistant to IP56 standards so it’s submersible.  Unlike many other AEDs, the Samaritan Pad is designed for speed and it doesn’t require anything to be plugged in or removed from a case.  It can analyze the patient, charge up and discharge or shock within 14 seconds.  Given that every minute that passes without defibrillation reduces the survival rate by 7-10%, time is of the essence. 

The Samaritan Pad has a cartridge which includes the battery and the pads (with versions designed for either adults or children) and will self test every Sunday at midnight GMT to make sure everything is operational.  Replacement cartridges are available from dealers around the world and when registered, the manufacturer will even contact you via email when it’s time for a cartridge replacement. 

Like most AEDs, the unit communicates with the rescuer via verbal prompts but the Samaritan Pad also has an integrated metronome to keep pace when CPR is to be administered.  Events are recorded, with the time, date, ECG trace & duration, shock delivery information and CPR intervals and are downloadable to a PC for later analysis by a physician. 

The units are rechargeable, volume adjustable and can be programmed in 5 languages.  They come with a 7 year warranty and retail for $1295