Researchers at the University of Toronto plan drone delivery to provide automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) directly to homes where people are having a heart attack.
Since rapid response to cardiac arrest is a major influence on the outcome, the researchers say that using drone delivery could save time and save lives.
“Justin Boutilier, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, envisions a future in which a bystander or family member who witnesses a cardiac arrest can call 911, and within minutes, an AED is flown to their doorstep or balcony to be administered – before the paramedics arrive,” says a University statement.
The idea follows research by the University lab on heart attacks that happen outside of healthcare facilities, which found a significant lack of accessible AED’s in public locations or homes. “About 85 per cent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Southern Ontario take place within a private residence,” says the statement.
“For those arrests, the public AEDs are not useful because it’s hard to get to them in time. It’s also not cost effective to put AEDs everywhere in the suburbs,” explained Boutilier.
The team is trying to improve the outcome by developing a plan to position drones equipped with AEDs at stations throughout communities. They examined historical on cardiac arrests from 8 regions in Southern Ontario to address questions about how many drones each community needs and where they stations should be located.
The team’s research findings indicate that drone delivery of AED’s is able to save several minutes off of ambulance response time, arriving ahead of an ambulance more than 90% of the time.
“In the near future, Boutilier hopes to pilot the project in Muskoka, a region that has a high rate of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the slowest ambulance response time of all the regions they’ve gathered data from,” says the University.
The idea is similar to a patent filed by Google which proposed drone delivery of AEDs to emergency call boxes.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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