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Drone Delivery of Defibrillators


Drone Delivery of Defibrillators


The Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine has published a paper recently about a research involving drone delivery of an automated external defibrillator aimed at optimizing help for victims of cardiac arrests.

A series of drone tests carried out as a part of the project by researchers J. Sanfridsson, J. Sparrevik, J. Hollenberg, P. Nordberg, T. Djärv, M. Ringh, L. Svensson, S. Forsberg, A. Nord, M. Andersson-Hagiwara and A. Claesson, aimed at studying ways to explore bystanders’ experience of a simulated OHCA-situation, where a drone delivers an AED and how the situation is affected by having one or two bystanders onsite.

Approximately 275,000 individuals are affected by Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) in Europe each year. Time from collapse to defibrillation is essential for survival. Sweden has noted increased emergency medical services (EMS)  and as in response is examining novel methods needed to facilitate early treatment. Unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones) have potential to deliver automated external defibrillators (AED).

Photo of iPad (that provided live video streaming), drone and AED. Photo of iPad (version 3) that provided live video streaming, drone (a modified DJI Inspire 1) and AED (Schiller FRED easyportTM) that were used during simulations

Photo of iPad (that provided live video streaming), drone and AED. Photo of iPad (version 3) that provided live video streaming, drone (a modified DJI Inspire 1) and AED (Schiller FRED easyportTM) that were used during simulations

This explorative simulation study used a mixed methodology describing bystanders’ experiences of retrieving an AED delivered by a drone in simulated OHCA situations. A total of 8 participants performed CPR- working in pairs as well as individually, on a manikin for 5 minutes after which an AED was delivered by a drone at 50 m from the location.

Qualitative data from observations, interviews of participants and video recordings were analysed using content analysis alongside descriptive data on time delays during bystander interaction.

The main finding was that retrieval of an AED delivered by a drone was experienced as safe and feasible for bystanders. None of the participants hesitated to retrieve the AED; instead they experienced it positive, helpful and felt relief upon AED-drone arrival and were able to retrieve and attach the AED to a manikin. Interacting with the AED-drone was perceived as less difficult than performing CPR or handling their mobile phone during T-CPR. Single bystander simulation introduced a significant hands-off interval when retrieving the AED, a period lasting 94 s (range 75 s–110 s) with one participant compared to 0 s with two participants.

The drone used was a modified DJI Inspire 1. It landed, released an AED, (Schiller FRED easyport™) hovered at 10 m altitude, marking the place of the red AED-bag, and provided a live-video stream with visual feedback to the dispatcher. The simulations were completed when the participant attached electrodes from the AED onto the manikin.

Participants said they felt that help arrived with the drone and found retrieving the AED experiences simple. Reportedly the red colour of the AED bag also reportedly facilitated locating the AED more easily.

The study concluded that it made good sense for bystanders to interact with a drone in this simulated suspected OHCA. Bystanders experienced drone delivery of an AED as safe and feasible. This has potential implications so further studies on bystanders’ experiences in real cases of OHCA aided by drone delivered AED are therefore necessary.

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Cite this article as: Vidi Nene, "Drone Delivery of Defibrillators," in, May 14, 2019,

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