In Sweden, a drone assists in the rescue of a patient who has suffered a heart attack

Image credit: SpringerLink

A 71-year-old man who was suffering from cardiac arrest was saved by a self-driving drone.

A defibrillator was carried by drone to a doctor who was assisting a man who had become ill while shovelling snow outside his home in Trollhattan, Sweden. The man, who did not want to be identified, said that the speed with which it arrived was amazing.

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

According to Everdrone, the delivery of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) took just over three minutes from the time the alert was raised.

The patient claimed he had no memory of what happened on that day in early December.

“Everything went dark” when he went into cardiac arrest while shovelling thick snow from his driveway, he recalled. His wife afterwards informed him how fortunate he was.

Everdrone CEO Mats Sallstrom feels the technology helped save the patient’s life as part of a team effort.

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

In Gothenburg and Kungalv, western Sweden, the company looked into using drones to transport defibrillators in 2020.

During the four-month investigation, the Karolinska researchers discovered that drones were dispatched to 12 out of 14 suspected cardiac arrest situations, with all but one of them successfully delivering an AED. The drones arrived seven times before the ambulances.

No gadgets were attached to patients in the 2020 research, albeit the reasons for this are unknown. Everdrone claims that the technology has gotten a lot faster since 2020 and that the focus now is on working closely with the dispatchers who issue directions to the people on the ground.

Everdrone is in talks to bring the technology to additional countries, including the United Kingdom, though the company won’t identify which ones. Some emergency agencies in the United Kingdom are already using drones.