Aims/Objectives/Background Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation can double survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Members of the public can perform both before the arrival of the ambulance service, but they currently use a public-access Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in around only 5% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
There are several barriers in getting an AED to a patient’s side promptly. One means of overcoming these barriers may be to deliver AEDs using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (‘drones’). In this study we aimed to create a technologically feasible solution for drone-delivered defibrillation, and to investigate how easily a bystander performing CPR could use a drone-delivered AED.
Methods/Design We developed a drone capable of flying an AED and lowering it to the ground via winch between July and September 2020 and tested the mechanism in October 2020. On 9th July 2021, we will conduct simulated cardiac arrests in an outdoor controlled test environment. Twenty participants will find a simulated patient, call an experienced 999 call-handler from Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and start CPR. Once cardiac arrest is confirmed during the 999 call a drone will take off, reach hovering altitude and lower the AED to the ground on-scene. The call-handler will alert the participant, who will then leave the patient to retrieve and attach the AED.
Hands-off CPR time is the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes are: time taken to reach the drone, recover the AED and apply it; usability of drone-delivered AEDs (using a questionnaire adapted from the System Usability Scale); and an exploration of participant behaviours by review of audio (999 calls) and video of the simulation.
Results/Conclusions We will determine what additional burden there is for a lone bystander after introducing a drone-delivered AED to a simulated cardiac arrest scenario. This will inform future work developing protocols for drone delivery of AEDs in clinical trials.
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