One of the most common emergency situations for first responders is to help someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), each year more than 350,000 people in the United States suffer from cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. Only 12 percent of victims survive through hospital discharge.
To help battle this, the AHA recommends that the public has access to defibrillation, as an important factor contributing to higher survival rate is to reduce the time between cardiac arrest and the defibrillation of the patient. However, portable automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are not cheap, and more often than not, an AED is not readily available anywhere near the person having the heart attack.
A Swedish company, FlyPulse, aims to tackle this problem by drone, building a high-speed autonomous flying machine that can transport AEDs to a home or accident scene and increase the possibility of a passerby or emergency responder being able to shock a victim within three minutes of cardiac arrest.
The company says its new lifesaving drone, the FlyPulse LifeDrone-AED, can reach a victim faster than an ambulance. In a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reported that the LifeDrone was able to respond to a location within its geographical work area an average of four times faster than an ambulance. By avoiding traffic congestion and having a direct flight path, the drone method lowered the overall emergency response time by approximately 16.5 minutes.
The FlyPulse drone relies on someone at the scene who is able to use a defibrillator. However, learning to use an AED is fairly straightforward, as the Red Cross offers short courses, and it has a 7-step online guide.
Send in the Drone—Stat
The LifeDrone-AED has a range of nearly 10 miles, which is impressive considering its life-saving payload. It flies at 70 km/hour, which is approximately 44 mph.
FlyPulse provides a start-to-finish solution that includes the operator alarm software, the automatic drone equipped with the defibrillator, a weatherproof standby station, installation, operator training, service and maintenance. The company handles the installation to setup the drone in the geographical work area. The alarm system is also installed at the operation station, which will order the drone on its rescue missions.
FlyPulse provides education and training for all operators that will use the system, and it offers demonstrations for interested buyers, solution providers and partners.
To the Rescue
The LifeDrone-AED is not the only life-saving drone from FlyPulse. The company is also developing the LifeDrone-WATER to aid in the location and assistance of drowning victims, and the LifeDrone-FIRE that will provide fire and incident monitoring. Although the life-saving drones need more test flights before they officially go on ER duty, they are a promising advancement in speed and delivery of emergency care.