Up until this point, drones have been used for some pretty “mundane” reasons. Sure, we have witnessed them for use in military operations, and we have all see some of the spectacular photos and videos they can capture, but aside from that, what have they done? Deliver pizzas? Drop-off packages? Well according to some hopeful new research, that could all change.
Researchers in Sweden believe that drones are the perfect vehicle for quickly delivering defibrillators and the life-saving equipment to someone who’s heart has suddenly stopped beating.
“Each minute that passes after a sudden cardiac arrest decreases the chance of survival by approximately 10 percent,” explained lead investigator Andreas Claesson. He’s a paramedic with the Center for Resuscitation Science at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
“In rural areas, a drone carrying an AED [automated external defibrillator] could arrive far ahead — meaning 16 minutes [faster] — of emergency medical services,” he said.
And that, Claesson said, could “potentially save lives through earlier defibrillation as carried out by bystanders onsite.”
In a hospital, when a person has a sudden cardiac arrest, doctors and other trained professionals can use medical devices like a defibrillator to electrically shock the heart back into working order. However, when this happens outside of a hospital, time is of the essence and first responders must deal with traffic and distance. Only about 10 percent of cardiac arrest patients pull through.
But a super-fast application of CPR can roughly double or even triple a patient’s survival prospects, Claesson said.
“Not only do greater distances have to be traversed to get to patients as well as transport to hospitals, there sometimes might not be enough equipment and personnel to cover multiple calls at once,” said Dr. Leigh Vinocur, American College of Emergency Physicians spokesperson and medical director of the urgent care division at MedStar Health in Columbia, Md. “We know that out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has a high mortality, that improves with both bystander CPR and early defibrillation with AED,” Vinocur went on to say.
While technology has often been at the forefront of medical advancement, it is only in our modern times that we see technology that is being used in so many different fields is also used for medical purpose. When it comes to heart attacks, time is of the essence, and by adding in the possibility of fast, effective and potentially life-saving assistance through drones, we for one think the future is looking bright.