Alec Momont’s flying defibrillator managed to garner quite a few headlines last year for its potential in reducing response times to heart attack victims, but a newly published patent filing from Zoll Medical suggests that the project is about to get some serious competition. Detailed inside is a system that could prove as a much more effective answer for cardiac emergencies.
Instead of strapping a defibrillator to a drone, the company wants to strap one to your body. It’s a simple but practical twist that could eliminate not only the wait for emergence response but also the delay between the medic laying down their carry case next to the patient and applying the first shock. Zoll envisions its electrotherapeutic vest being set up something like this:
The three pads in the center are the electrodes that conduct the charge from the compact defibrillator in the middle to the patient’s chest when emergency strikes. They’re surrounded by four strategically-placed sensors that continuously feed data about cardiac activity to the processing unit strapped to the waist, which is where the magic happens.
The miniaturized computer analyzes that input for signs of arrhythmia and executes a thorough verification process upon detecting an anomaly to ensure it’s not a false positive. The built-in software first uses the onboard microphone to search for background noise that may indicate the patient is just exerting themselves and proceeds to ask a series of targeted questions through the integrated speaker.
The system adjusts the certainty score assigned to the incident based on the victim’s answers – or lack thereof – and then asks them to press a button on the processing unit to verify that they’re conscious. If that doesn’t take place either, he obvious conclusions are drawn, the speaker runs a message warning bystanders to get away and the treatment is administered.
The entire process is registered and the logs are transmitted to a command center at the hospital to which the patient belongs, where staffers can communicate with the victim through the speaker until help arrives. The ability to handle all that remotely not only saves precious minutes but also removes the need for high-risk patients to stay in the confines of a care facility, which allows them to go on with their lives while freeing up beds for others.