You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Autonomous drone carrying a defibrillator helps save man’s life after cardiac arrest

The i 06/01/2022 Rhiannon Williams

An autonomous drone helped to save a 71-year-old cardiac arrest patient by delivering a defibrillator three minutes after the alarm was raised.

Dr Mustafa Ali had been on his way to work at the local hospital in the Swedish city of Trollhättan when he noticed a man collapsed in a driveway.

The man had been shovelling snow on 9 December when he went into cardiac arrest, causing him to fall to the ground unconscious. “I immediately understood that something was wrong and rushed to help,” Dr Ali said.

“The man had no pulse, so I started doing CPR while asking another bystander to call 112 [the Swedish emergency number]. Just minutes later, I saw something flying above my head. It was a drone with a defibrillator.”

Immediate CPR is crucial to keeping blood and oxygen circulating once the heart stops beating, as chances of survival start to drop within just two minutes. After 10 minutes of no CPR, the patient is likely to die.

Dr Ali took the lightweight defibrillator dropped off by the drone and delivered shocks to the patient, while continuing CPR.

The man was taken to hospital after his collapse on 9 December, and has since fully recovered and returned home.

“I can’t put into words how thankful I am to this new technology and the speedy delivery of the defibrillator. If it wasn’t for the drone I probably wouldn’t be here”, he said.

“This is a truly revolutionary technology that needs to be implemented all over; sudden cardiac arrests can happen to anyone, not just old people with arteriosclerosis.”

The drone – called Autodrone – can currently reach 200,000 people in Sweden and its developers hope to expand to more locations this year.

Drones have been valuable tools in delivering Covid-19 supplies, test kits and contactless meals during the pandemic (Photo: Autodrone) © Provided by The i Drones have been valuable tools in delivering Covid-19 supplies, test kits and contactless meals during the pandemic (Photo: Autodrone)

It is operated by company Everdrone in partnership with the Centre for Resuscitation Science at Swedish university Karolinska Institutet; SOS Alarm, which operates Sweden’s emergency number; and Västra Götaland regional council.

It is also supported by Vinnova, a Swedish government agency that funds research and development projects.

The speed at which drones can fly have made them valuable tools in delivering Covid-19 supplies, test kits and contactless meals across the world during the pandemic.

Drone company Skyports started conducting trials carrying medical cargo for the NHS in 2020 and began shuttling Covid-19 test kits and PPE between medical facilities in Argyll and Bute in Scotland in February last year.

A 2021 study investigating the feasibility of defibrillator delivery by drone, published in the European Heart Journal, found there was a “time benefit” when they were able to deliver defibrillators more quickly than emergency services.

However, it noted that further improvements were needed to increase dispatch rate and the amount of time saved.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From The i

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon