AED Mode on ALS Defibrillator

ALS Defibrillator Functions
(Part 1 - AED Mode)

ALS Defibrillator = Advanced Life Support Defibrillator
Defibrillators used by medical providers. Typically by EMS and in advanced care settings Hospitals, Free standing ER's, etc.

A lot of medical providers are uncomfortable using the ALS Defibrillator in their medical care settings. This can be due to the lack of training, not enough hands on practice, and the numerous brands and models on the market. This often leads to intimidation and delay in treatment.

Therefore, this series highlights the main features of the ALS Defibrillator. We want to get you thinking about and looking at your facilities defibrillator……NOW……and not during an emergency. Hopefully, this helps boost your confidence!

This education is NOT for the lay rescuer using an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in a community setting. 

4 Part series will include:

Part 1: Using AED Mode for Defibrillation

Part 2: Using Pacing Mode for Transcutaneous Pacing (TCP)

Part 3: Synchronized Cardioversion

Part 4: Manual Mode for Defibrillation

Using AED mode

Did you know that All Brands of ALS Defibrillators can defibrillate a patient in AED mode or manual mode???

This function can be used by any certified:  BLS Provider, ACLS Provider, or PALS Provider. 

Some are under the impression it can only be used by an ACLS or PALS Provider; However, the AED function is so a BLS Only Provider can use it as well. 

Our goal is to deliver a shock to a patient in under 5 minutes if they are in a shockable rhythm. Therefore, we want to use the defibrillator as soon as possible.

Why would AED mode as an ACLS or PALS provider be helpful??? Don't we get taught to do everything manually?

Here are just a few of the reasons:

  1. Takes the pressure off the team lead and can result in a quicker shock to the patient. Especially on units where codes are rare! 
  2. It provides you a 2 minute timer.
  3. Great for codes with fewer resources or staff.
  4. Great for units that are BLS trained only (versus waiting for ACLS/ALS code team arrive)
In areas where codes happen quite frequently (Critical Care/ER) may not wish to use this function....carry on!

So where is the AED button???

Pictures of some of the most common ALS defibrillators: ZOLL, LIFEPAK, and PHILLIPS with guidance on where to locate the AED function. 

Additionally, be sure to watch the video at the end that walks you through the steps.


While several models of ZOLL Defibrillators are on the market they basically have the same visual features. 

Pressing the Analyze Button will activate the AED Function


While several models of LIFEPAK Defibrillators are on the market they basically have the same visual features. 

Pressing the Analyze Button will activate the AED Function


These pictured Phillips Defibrillators were commonly seen in the hospital setting. They have been discontinued and no longer being supported by PHILLIPS.  They are included in this blog as some hospitals still have them for use. 

My understanding, is the only ALS defibrillator that they will be making is the prehospital care Tempus ALS.

They will still be manufacturing AED’s for the community setting.

On these defibrillators you would turn the dial to AED ON to activate the AED Function

Watch the video to walk through the steps.


Hope you enjoyed the post and found it helpful.
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