A Systematic Review of Effectiveness of Automated External Defibrillators Delivered by Drones

  •  Tomoya Shirane    


BACKGROUND: According to the 2019 annual report by Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) in Japan, the survival rate of patients with Out-of-Hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) who were rescued by Automated External Defibrillators (AED) was 6.2 times higher than those who were not treated appropriately. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have been evaluated as the means of delivering medical equipment and goods. This study was therefore designed to evaluate the effectiveness of UAV technology applied to AED delivery through a systematic review methodology.

METHODS: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta- Analyses (PRISMA) statement was utilized to guide the review. Electronic databases such as Medline through PubMed and CiNii were searched. Search terms were used in a variety of combinations, including AED, UAV, and drone in English and Japanese.

RESULTS: Nine articles were identified through the review process. Most of the studies were conducted in Western countries, and all of them were done after 2016. Seven studies evaluated the time reductions in the delivery of the defibrillation in OHCAs by simulation study methods and/or test flights of UAV. All the studies showed the positive results regarding the time reductions to AED access by bystanders compared with the current setting of no UAV networks.

CONCLUSION: The studies included in this review showed UAV technology around AED delivery would have the potential to reduce the time of the defibrillation in OHCA patients. More evidence especially around the real-world utilization and the cost-effectiveness of the technology deployment are expected for the future adaptation.

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