Every year more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals. Damages to the brain and vital organs occur just three minutes after the heart stops beating. After nine minutes, damages are often irreversible. Yet emergency services on average are able to arrive on site with an automated external defibrillator (AED) in between 8 to 30 minutes. With the advent of drone ambulances, this could change the medical landscape. In Sweden, a team of researchers discovered that of the 12 times a drone was deployed for a cardiac arrest call, 7 yielded a response time up to nearly 5 minutes sooner. “We have developed a system using AED-drone systems placed in remotely surveilled hangars, fully integrated with the emergency medical service, dispatch center, and aviation control,” said Sofia Schierbeck from Karolinska University Hospital. “Our study shows that it is not only possible but can be quicker than an ambulance.” In the future, drones could even help deliver epinephrine to patients with anaphylactic shock or glucose to diabetic patients.

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