Application of Automated External Defibrillators in Motorcycle Ambulances in Thailand’s Emergency Medical Services

Access time to emergency patients is a critical factor that affects the outcomes of life-or-death situations, especially in the cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA). This study focused on developing a new model of emergency medical services (EMS) using a motorcycle-based ambulance (motorlance) with an automated external defibrillator (AED). There are currently no studies regarding access time for this vehicle. This study aimed at utilization of an AED in conjunction with motorlance and comparing the response time between a traditional ambulance and a motorlance. This was a prospective study from September 2021 to January 2022. Data were recorded employing a national standard of operations record form used for Thailand EMS departments nationwide.

Results: The 891 cases were divided into two groups which were motorlance and ambulance. The activation times for motorlance and ambulance were 0.44 minutes and 1.42 minutes, respectively (p < 0.001) and the response time in the motorlance group was 7.20 minutes compared with 9.25 minutes in the ambulance group. In OHCA, the motorlance with AED arrived at patients location and assisted to continue resuscitation at the hospital 88.9% of the time.

Conclusion: AED used in conjunction with motorcycle ambulances had shorter periods of both activation time and response time compared to ambulances. The use of AEDs clearly increases the number of continuous resuscitations in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients.

A review of progress and an advanced method for shock advice algorithms in automated external defibrillators

Shock advice algorithm plays a vital role in the detection of sudden cardiac arrests on electrocardiogram signals and hence, brings about survival improvement by delivering prompt defibrillation. The last decade has witnessed a surge of research efforts in racing for efficient shock advice algorithms, in this context. On one hand, it has been reported that the classification performance of traditional threshold-based methods has not complied with the American Heart Association recommendations. On the other hand, the rise of machine learning and deep learning-based counterparts is paving the new ways for the development of intelligent shock advice algorithms.

In this paper, we firstly provide a comprehensive survey on the development of shock advice algorithms for rhythm analysis in automated external defibrillators. Shock advice algorithms are categorized into three groups based on the classification methods in which the detection performance is significantly improved by the use of machine learning and/or deep learning techniques instead of threshold-based approaches. Indeed, in threshold-based shock advice algorithms, a parameter is calculated as a threshold to distinguish shockable rhythms from non-shockable ones. In contrast, machine learning-based methods combine multiple parameters of conventional threshold-based approaches as a set of features to recognize sudden cardiac arrest.

Noticeably, those features are possibly extracted from stand-alone ECGs, alternative signals using various decomposition techniques, or fully augmented ECG segments. Moreover, these signals can be also used directly as the input channels of deep learning-based shock advice algorithm designs. Then, we propose an advanced shock advice algorithm using a support vector machine classifier and a feature set extracted from a fully augmented ECG segment with its shockable and non-shockable signals. The relatively high detection performance of the proposed shock advice algorithm implies a potential application for the automated external defibrillator in the practical clinic environment. Finally, we outline several interesting yet challenging research problems for further investigation.

Public Access Defibrillators Improving Survival Rates in Israel

It is well documented that the success of resuscitation attempts and defibrillation in the patient in cardiac arrest is time-critical. Great efforts have been made globally to improve patient survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), but despite these efforts in many places success rates still stand in single-digit percentage figures. In Israel, thousands of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have been placed in locations with the intention to increase availability of PADs. The defibrillator is the most vital piece of equipment in CPR, along with the performance of good quality chest compressions. In one recent project, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 15 new smart stands were placed in rural towns and villages from north to south of the country, particularly as they are remote and EMS response will take some time to arrive.

Lessons from the Evolution of the Automated External Defibrillator

Not too many years ago, the chances of surviving a sudden cardiac event outside of a hospital setting were slim. Realizing the need for a life-saving treatment that could be used almost anywhere, and by almost anyone, the Royal Victoria Hospital-Belfast, under the direction of Dr. Frank Pantridge and Dr. Geddes, launched the world’s first mobile coronary care unit, which included the world’s first portable defibrillator. The research team, which formed the company, HeartSine in 1988, now owned by Stryker, continued to refine the device to make it more lightweight and portable. The Ulster University academics have since gone from a team of five employees to being acquired by one of the world’s largest medtech companies by a process of constantly refining and improving their devices.

“Much of our early work was focused on the development of suitable technology to allow this miniaturization to be realized,” Finlay explained. “These developments, including the integration and in-house research of new flat-panel displays, compact capacitors, flexible defibrillator pads, high-density batteries, and embedded software, primarily led to a device that was suitable for transportation in an ambulance to a patient suspected of having a cardiac arrest.”

This work provided the platform for which the modern wall-mounted automated external defibrillator (AED) is based on, Finlay said. HeartSine’s flagship product, the HeartSine Samaritan public access defibrillator (PAD; pictured above), has been deployed in thousands of facilities in more than 70 companies and in more than 30 languages.

The evolution of the device was based on many years of experience, explained Professor James McLaughlin, Head of School of Engineering, Ulster University. “As with all of Ulster University’s work in medical devices and related technology development, we have learned that many iterations of the technology are required to facilitate a final viable solution,” he explained.

Incremental Gains in Response Time with Varying Base Location Types for Drone-Delivered Automated External Defibrillators

Introduction: Drone-delivered automated external defibrillators (AEDs) may reduce delays to defibrillation for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs). We sought to determine how integration of drones and selection of drone bases between emergency service stations (i.e., paramedic, fire, police) would affect 9-1-1 call-to-arrival intervals.

Methods: We identified all treated OHCAs in southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada from Jan. 2014 to Dec. 2020. We developed mathematical models to select 1-5 optimal drone base locations from each of: paramedic stations, fire stations, police stations, or an unrestricted grid-based set of points to minimize drone travel time to OHCAs. We evaluated models on the estimated first response interval assuming that drones were integrated with existing OHCA response. We compared median response intervals with historical response, as well as across drone base locations.

Results: A total of 1,610 OHCAs were included in the study with a historical median response interval of 6.4 minutes (IQR 5.0-8.6). All drone-integrated response systems significantly reduced the median response interval to 4.2-5.4 minutes (all P<0.001), with grid-based stations using 5 drones resulting in the lowest response interval (4.2 minutes). Median response times between drone base location types differed by 6-16 seconds, all comparisons of which were statistically significant (all P<0.02).

Conclusion: Integrating drone-delivered AEDs into OHCA response may reduce first response intervals, even with a small quantity of drones. Implementing drone response with only one emergency service resulted in similar response metrics regardless of the emergency service hosting the drone base and was competitive with unrestricted drone base locations.

Understanding the Importance of the Lay Responder Experience in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is critical to increasing survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. However, the percentage of cases in which an individual receives bystander CPR is actually low, at only 35% to 40% globally. Preparing lay responders to recognize the signs of sudden cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1, and perform CPR in public and private locations is crucial to increasing survival from this public health problem. The objective of this scientific statement is to summarize the most recent published evidence about the lay responder experience of training, responding, and dealing with the residual impact of witnessing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The scientific statement focuses on the experience-based literature of actual responders, which includes barriers to responding, experiences of doing CPR, use of an automated external defibrillator, the impact of dispatcher-assisted CPR, and the potential for postevent psychological sequelae. The large body of qualitative and observational studies identifies several gaps in crucial knowledge that, if targeted, could increase the likelihood that those who are trained in CPR will act. We suggest using the experience of actual responders to inform more contextualized training, including the implications of performing CPR on a family member, dispelling myths about harm, training and litigation, and recognition of the potential for psychologic sequelae after the event.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Defibrillator Use in Sports

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in young athletes is rare, with an estimated incidence ranging from 0.1 to 2 per 100,000 per athlete year. The creation of SCA registries can help provide accurate data regarding incidence, treatment, and outcomes and help implement primary or secondary prevention strategies that could change the course of these events.

 Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are the most important determinants of survival and neurological prognosis in individuals who suffer from SCA. Compared with the general population, individuals with clinically silent cardiac disease who practice regular physical exercise are at increased risk of SCA events. While the implementation of national preparticipation screening has been largely debated, with no current consensus, the number of athletes who will be diagnosed with cardiac disease and have an indication for implantable defibrillator cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is unknown. Many victims of SCA do not have a previous cardiac diagnosis.

Therefore, the appropriate use and availability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public spaces is the crucial part of the integrated response to prevent these fatalities both for participating athletes and for spectators. Governments and sports institutions should invest and educate members of the public, security, and healthcare professionals in immediate initiation of CPR and early AED use. Smartphone apps could play an integral part to allow bystanders to alert the emergency services and CPR trained responders and locate and utilize the nearest AED to positively influence the outcomes by strengthening the chain of survival. This review aims to summarize the available evidence on sudden cardiac death prevention among young athletes and to provide some guidance on strategies that can be implemented by governments and on the novel tools that can help save these lives.

The PHOENIX: Design and Development of a Three-Dimensional-Printed Drone Prototype and Corresponding Simulation Scenario Based on the Management of Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) remains one of the most prevalent cardiovascular emergencies in the world. The development of international protocols and the use of accessible devices such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs) allowed for the standardization and organization of medical care related to SCA. When defibrillation is performed within five minutes of starting ventricular fibrillation (VF) and pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT), the victim survival rate has increased considerably. 

Therefore, training healthcare professionals to use AEDs correctly is essential to improve patient outcomes and response time in the intervention. In this technical report, we advocate simulation-based education as a teaching methodology and an essential component of drone adaptation, novel technology, that can deliver AEDs to the site, as well as a training scenario to teach healthcare professionals how to operate the real-time communication components of drones and AEDs efficiently.

Studies have suggested that simulation can be an effective way to train healthcare professionals. Through teaching methodology using simulation, training these audiences has the potential to reduce the response time to intervention, consequently, increasing the patient’s chance of surviving.