An autonomous flying drone has this week made medical history after it helped saved the life a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest.
It was announced that an Everdrone autonomous drone had this month delivered a defibrillator that helped save the life of a 71-year-old man in Trollhättan, Sweden.
The man was on his driveway shovelling snow on 9 December 2021 when he suffered a heart attack. He was successfully resuscitated by a nearby doctor after a Everdrone drone quickly flew in a defibrillator.
After the man had collapsed, an immediate emergency call was made, and thanks to the quick thinking of Dr. Mustafa Ali and the swift delivery of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), lifesaving measures via defibrillation were initiated before the arrival of the ambulance.
The time from the alarm being raised until the AED was safely delivered at the doorstep of the incident address was just over three minutes.
After the initial treatment on site, the patient was rushed to the hospital and is today fully recovered.
“I can’t put into words how thankful I am to this new technology and the speedy delivery of the defibrillator,” said the 71-year-old patient who has made a full recovery and has now been able to return to his home. “If it wasn’t for the drone I probably wouldn’t be here.”
“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” added the patient.
The doctor then described in more detail what happened.
“I was on my way to work at the local hospital when I looked out the car window and saw a man collapsed in his driveway”, said Dr. Mustafa Ali. “I immediately understood that something was wrong and rushed to help.”
“The man had no pulse, so I started doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) while asking another bystander to call 112 (the Swedish emergency number),” said Dr. Ali. “Just minutes later, I saw something flying above my head. It was a drone with a defibrillator!”
Thanks to Dr. Ali, and the use of the defibrillator, life-saving treatment was initiated early and, which in the end, meant that the life of the patient was saved.
The drone delivery system in Region Västra Götaland is developed and operated by Everdrone, which develops technology for autonomous drones with a focus on civil applications for use within the healthcare and emergency response sector.
The solution has been developed and is continuously improved in close collaboration with Center for Resuscitation Science at Karolinska Institutet, SOS Alarm and Region Västra Götaland.
“This is an excellent real-world example of how Everdrone’s cutting-edge drone technology, fully integrated with emergency dispatch, can minimise the time for access to life-saving AED equipment”, said Mats Sällström, CEO of Everdrone.
This case demonstrated the need for a speedy reaction to someone having a heart attack.
Indeed, someone having a heart attack needs help within 10 minutes in order to survive.
The UK for example has opted to install defibrillator in village halls, supermarkets, sports centres and car parks, to help increase a patent’s survival chances.
Defibrillators which can be used by the general public have even been installed in former BT red telephone boxes.
Callers to 999 are given a code to unlock the box holding their local defibrillator.
The Swedish drone delivering a defibrillator is an alternative (or complementary) strategy that could also be considered for the UK or other countries.
275,000 patients in Europe and 350,000 in the US, suffer from OHCA (cardiac arrest) annually.
Approximately 70 percent of OHCAs occur in private homes without AEDs on site, and ambulance response times are often too long to save the life of the patient.
The chance of survival decreases by 7-10 percent with each minute following the collapse, and consequently, the current survival rate among OHCA patients is merely 10 percent.
Everdrone’s innovative airborne AED delivery service is a proven method to tackle this critical issue.
It allows emergency dispatchers to send a drone carrying the device to a caller’s home, kickstarting the lifesaving process before the ambulance arrives at their home.
In this particular patient’s case, it took three minutes for the services to deliver the defibrillator to his home. A bystander, who happened to be a doctor on the way to his job, used the AED on the patient after providing CPR.
Everdrone’s service can currently reach 200,000 residents in Sweden and is expected to expand to more locations in Europe during 2022.