Researchers use drones to get help to heart attack victims faster

Karolinska Institute researchers have tested using drones to deliver automated external defibrillators to people suffering cardiac arrest, and found that they can provide help faster than traditional ambulances can.

    2017/06/16

NSFW    TROLLHATTAN, SWEDEN — Swedish researchers have tested using drones to deliver automated external defibrillators to those suffering cardiac arrest. In many cases, patients are too far away from hospitals to seek immediate treatment, and drones could be a faster way to help them.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden attached an AED to an eight-rotor drone. The drone has autopilot and GPS functions and is painted a fluorescent color similar to ambulances to help people visually locate it.

The trial was conducted in Norrtälje, a rural area near Stockholm. The drone was able to deliver the AED in just over 5 minutes, whereas the median dispatch time for an emergency ambulance was 22 minutes, the New Scientist reported.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests take place in the U.S. each year but only about 10 percent of patients survive. Their chances of survival reduces by 10 percent every minute without CPR and defibrillation, according to the New Scientists.

“If we can decrease the time in cardiac arrest from collapse to defibrillation by a few minutes, hundreds of lives would be saved each year,” Jacob Hollenberg Hollenberg at Karolinska Institute told the New Scientist.
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