A new study has found that drones equipped with a portable medical device can help save lives of heart attack patients by reaching the spot four times faster than an ambulance. A team of researchers of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden compared the time taken to deliver an automated external defibrillator (AED) using fully autonomous drones for simulated out-of- hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) with emergency medical services (EMS). The Swedish Transportation Agency has developed a drone equipped with an AED, a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.. The drone was equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) and a high-definition camera and integrated with an autopilot software system. It was dispatched for out-of-sight flights to locations where OHCAs were within a 10 kilometre radius from the fire station. Researchers found that the drone arrived more quickly than EMS in all cases with a response time of 16:39 minutes. They said, “Saving 16 minutes is likely to be clinically important. Nonetheless, further test flights, technological development, and evaluation of integration with dispatch centres and aviation administrators are needed.”

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