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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Drone helps save cardiac arrest patient in Sweden


An autonomous drone has helped to save the life of a 71-year-old man who was suffering a cardiac arrest.

A defibrillator was delivered by drone to a doctor assisting a man who became ill while shovelling snow outside his house in Trollhattan, Sweden.

The man, who did not want to be identified, told the BBC that the speed with which it arrived was “fantastic.”

According to the company behind the drone, this meant that defibrillation could begin before an ambulance arrived.

According to Everdrone, it took just over three minutes from the time the alarm was raised until the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was delivered.

Passing doctor

The patient told the BBC he doesn’t remember what happened that day in early December.

He was clearing thick snow from his driveway but when the cardiac arrest hit, “everything went black”, he said.

His wife later told him how lucky he had been.

Dr Mustafa Ali, who happened to be driving past at the time, rushed to help and told Everdrone: “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.

“Because the man had no pulse, I began CPR while asking another bystander to dial 112 (the Swedish emergency number).” I noticed something flying above my head a few minutes later. It was a drone outfitted with a defibrillator.”

Everdrone CEO Mats Sallstrom believes the technology played a role in a collaborative effort to save the patient’s life.

“It’s a medical doctor performing CPR, early defibrillation, and treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital,” he explained to the BBC.

“It’s critical to understand that there is a chain of events that saves the person’s life, and the drone is a critical part of how that system works.”

The drone is a collaboration between Sweden’s largest medical university, Karolinska Institutet, the national emergency operator SOS Alarm, Region Vastra Gotaland, and Everdrone.

The group investigated the use of drones to deliver defibrillators in Gothenburg and Kungalv in western Sweden in 2020.

Over the four-month study, the Karolinska researchers found that drones were dispatched to 12 out of 14 cases of suspected cardiac arrest, and successfully delivered an AED in all but one.

In seven cases the drones arrived before the ambulances.

It was fortunate that a doctor was nearby in the December incident, but questions remain about whether members of the public who lack medical training would know what to do with a defibrillator.

No devices were attached to patients in the 2020 study, for unknown reasons.

Mr. Sallstrom stated that they are intended for use by untrained individuals, adding, “In these scenarios, you are also on the phone to the emergency centre, and they can guide you.”

Everdrone claims that the system has become much faster since 2020, with the emphasis now being on collaborating closely with dispatchers who provide instructions to people on the ground.

Everdrone is in talks to bring the technology to other countries, including the United Kingdom, though the company won’t say which ones.

Drones are already in use by some UK emergency services. Earlier this year, an 83-year-old man’s family said his life was “saved” when he was found by a police drone after being missing for 18 hours.

Ready to go

According to Everdrone, the key to the Swedish system is having an integrated system ready to go.

According to Mr Sallstrom, the drone system is electronically integrated with the emergency dispatch system and can prepare to fly as soon as an emergency call indicating a cardiac arrest is received.

Although the drone is self-sufficient, there is a “pilot in command” who oversees the operation for safety and can obtain clearance to take off from air traffic control.

“This may appear to be a lengthy process, but we can be on our way in about 60 seconds from the alarm,” Mr Sallstrom explained.

According to the company, time is of the essence because the chance of survival decreases by 7-10% for every minute after the collapse.

Everdrone believes the system could eventually be used to deliver other critical medical devices.

The patient whom the drone assisted in saving is clearly a fan. Road congestion can be an issue in his town, but the drones, he claims, fly above the traffic.

“I’m extremely pleased. I think it’s wonderful that they arrived so quickly “he claims.



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