THURSDAY, Sept. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) – It is feasible for drones to deliver automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to real-life cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), according to a study published online Aug. 26 in the European Heart Journal to coincide with the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021: The Digital Experience, held virtually from Aug. 27 to 30.

Sofia Schierbeck, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues investigated the feasibility of AED delivery by drones integrated in emergency medical services in real-life cases of OHCA.

The researchers report that 14 cases were eligible for dispatch during the study period; AED drones took off in 12 alerts to suspected OHCA cases (median distance to location, 3.1 km). AED delivery was feasible within 9 m and successful in 11 of 12 alerts. In nearly two-thirds of cases (64 percent), AED drones arrived prior to ambulances, with a median time benefit of 01:52 minutes. The AED delivery success rate was 90 percent in an additional 61 test flights.

“Our study shows that it is possible to use drones to transport defibrillators in a safe way and with target precision during real-life emergencies,” Schierbeck said in a statement. “A precondition for their future use is that the dispatcher takes initiative and instructs people on site to quickly collect and attach the AED in order to help the person with cardiac arrest.”

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