Delivery of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) by Drones: Implications for Emergency Cardiac Care

  • Jessica K. Zègre-HemseyEmail author
  • Brittany Bogle
  • Christopher J. Cunningham
  • Kyle Snyder
  • Wayne Rosamond
Cardiovascular Risk Health Policy (W. Rosamond, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cardiovascular Risk Health Policy


Purpose of Review

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) remains a significant health problem in the USA and only 8.6% of victims survive with good neurological function, despite advances in emergency cardiac care. The likelihood of OHCA survival decreases by 10% for every minute without resuscitation.

Recent Findings

Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have the potential to save lives yet public access defibrillators are underutilized (< 2% of the time) because they are difficult to locate and rarely available in homes or residential areas, where the majority (70%) of OHCA occur. Even when AEDs are within close proximity (within 100 m), they are not used 40% of the time.


Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have the potential to deliver AEDs to a bystander and augment emergency medical service (EMS) care. We review the use of drones in medicine, what is currently known, and clinical implications for advancing emergency cardiac care.


Sudden cardiac arrest Automatic external defibrillation Public access defibrillation Unmanned aerial vehicles Drones 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, through grant award numbers KL2TR002490 and UL1TR002489. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. This is TraCS Pilot award grant no. UNCSUR31707.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica K. Zègre-Hemsey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brittany Bogle
    • 2
  • Christopher J. Cunningham
    • 3
  • Kyle Snyder
    • 4
  • Wayne Rosamond
    • 5
  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Research Collaborator, Gillings School of Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.NextGen Air Transportation ConsortiumNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  5. 5.Gillings School of Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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