Flying Defibrillators The Key To Saving Lives

By Danielle Pope

A drone carrying a defibrillator. Image: Karolinska Institute
A drone carrying a defibrillator. Image: Karolinska Institute
New research is showing show defibrillator-carrying drones could save lives

Drone technology continues to evolve, with drones being used in all manner of ways including delivering the post in Switzerland, accessing dangerous zones after a natural disaster, all the way through to even delivering a pizza in New Zealand.

Now a new study is showing that drones may be the answer in helping save lives of those who have suffered cardiac arrest. Led by the Centre for Resuscitation Science at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the simulated study found that drones carrying a defibrillator arrived 16 minutes quicker on average than the emergency services.

Jacob Hollenberg, who led the study, says that saving time is crucial. “Cardiac arrest is one of the major killers in the western world. Every minute is crucial; I would say every second is crucial.”

This new technology, (which could be employed by a member of the public) could mean the difference between life and death. For every minute that passes after a cardiac arrest, the chances of survival go down by 10 per cent. “There’s a huge difference in using the defibrillator within the first few minutes,” Hollenberg said. “Even if you improve the timing of the ambulances in these type of situations, it’s too late – only one in 10 victims survive.”

There are limitations to the study, including the small number of flights over short distances in good weather, and also the possibility of changes in traffic patterns.

However, researchers are hopeful that the technology will be rolled out in one to two years and could be used for other medical emergencies including allergic reactions and road traffic accidents.



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