Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) have a survival rate of only 8-10%. The most critical factors for patient survival is the early administration of good bystander CPR and early defibrillation in shockable rhythms. Currently, defibrillators are transported to OHCA victims only via ambulance which can take a considerable amount of time especially in rural America. One solution to this problem is the potential transport of AED (automated external defibrillators) to cardiac arrest victims via GPS-enabled drones.
This study out of Sweden used Drones to carry AEDs to remote locations and determined the time of arrival of the drone-delivered AED compared with ambulance-delivered AEDs. Eighteen remotely operated flights were performed with average flight distances of 3.2 km. Median time from dispatch to drone launch was 3 seconds. The median time of drone arrival was 3.5 minutes. The median time from dispatch to ambulance arrival was 20 minutes. Drones arrived 16.5 minutes faster than ambulances.
More and more uses have been conjured for drones and AED delivery may be another potential use. Obviously, more study is needed before this becomes commonplace but this carries a lot of potential for improving survival rates in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
Picture courtesy of JAMA, 2017; 317: 2332