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Autonomous Drones Deliver Defibrillators in Sweden

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 25 May 2020
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Image: An Everdrone delivering its AED over Gothenburg (Photo courtesy of Everdrone)
Image: An Everdrone delivering its AED over Gothenburg (Photo courtesy of Everdrone)
An innovative drone system delivers automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the scene of cardiac arrests, helping bystanders initiate life-saving measures while awaiting professional medical care.

Developed by Everdrone (Säve, Sweden), the AED drone system is now available to more than 80,000 residents in the Gothenburg area of Sweden as part of a clinical study being held in collaboration with national emergency call center SOS Alarm (Stockholm, Sweden) and the Centre for Resuscitation Science at the Karolinska Institutet (KI; Solna, Sweden). The study, which will launch in June 2020, will run through the end of September 2020. Outcomes will be continuously evaluated by KI.

During the study period, three drone systems will be placed in designated locations, ready to respond to emergency 112-calls occurring within a radius of six kilometers. Obstacle avoidance functionality is built on Intel RealSense technology, intelligent route planning is built-in to significantly reduce flight time over people, and an onboard parachute system is designed to mitigate risk in the case of a bird strike or critical propulsion failure. When the drone arrives at the designated location, the AED will be lowered to the ground while the drone remains hovering in place at 30 meters altitude.

“The collaboration with SOS Alarm and KI has been absolutely crucial for the realization of the concept in terms of being able to perform a swift alarm response, and to manage the medical and ethical issues involved,” said Mats Sällström, CEO of Everdrone. “The method of lowering the defibrillator from the drone with the help of a winch is something we have been developing and testing for a long time. We have performed countless test deliveries in recent months, and the results show that the method works very well.”

"In the event of a cardiac arrest, the drone is dispatched at the same time as the ambulance and will certainly be the first to arrive on the scene. Our operators are ready to instruct bystanders on how to initiate the life-saving device," said Mattias Regnell, head of innovation and research at SOS Alarm.

An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia (VT) and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Related Links:
SOS Alarm
Centre for Resuscitation Science at the Karolinska Institutet

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