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257 Reduction in EMS response times for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest using drone-like flying ambulances in large urban areas in France and Canada: An international, quasi-experimental study
  1. M Heidet1,2,
  2. KHB Leung3,
  3. B Grunau4,
  4. TCY Chan3,
  5. J Deakin5,
  6. W Bougoin6,
  7. H Hubert7,
  8. D Jost8,
  9. B Frattini8,
  10. E Mermet9,
  11. J Vaux2,
  12. J Christenson4,
  13. C El Khoury10,
  14. E Lecarpentier2
  1. 1Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), Créteil, France
  2. 2SAMU 94, Henri Mondor University hospital, Créteil, France
  3. 3University of Toronto, Canada
  4. 4University of British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5British Columbia Emergency Health Services, Canada
  6. 6Sudden death expertise center, Paris, France
  7. 7Université de Lille, Lille, France
  8. 8Brigade de sapeurs pompiers de Paris (BSPP), Paris, France
  9. 9École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris, France
  10. 10Resuval, Vienne, France


Background Shortening EMS response times lead to better outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). To overcome constraints encountered by ground ambulances, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capable flying ambulances are currently being developed. We compared simulated VTOL response to historical ground ambulance response for OHCAs in two large metropolitan areas in Europe and North America.

Method We conducted an international, multicenter, quasi-experimental study on adult, non-traumatic, EMS-assessed, non-EMS witnessed OHCA occurring in the greater Paris (France) and Vancouver (Canada) metropolitan areas, over a 2-year span (2018–2020). Data were drawn from Utstein-style, population-based OHCA registries. VTOL response times were simulated based on prototype specifications. Response times were defined from call reception to arrival at scene. Simulation models considered 1–5 VTOL vehicles placed in optimized locations. We determined the proportion of OHCAs for which VTOL response times were at least 1-min shorter than historical response from ground-based units.

Results In total, 13,933 cases were included (6,616 in Paris; 7,317 in Vancouver). Simulated VTOL response times were substantially shorter than those of ground-based units, varying from 59% (1 VTOL) to 76% (5 VTOL) in Paris, and 17% (1 VTOL) to 40% (5 VTOL) in Vancouver. In both locations, median response times were reduced by 1–3 minutes, and 90th percentile response times by 1–5 minutes, varying upon model configuration. For OHCAs with improved response, the median improvement was 3–4 minutes, and 90th percentile improvement was 8–10 minutes in both areas.

Conclusion Simulation models of VTOL-capable flying ambulances show major theoretical reduction in EMS response times for OHCAs in two large European and North American metropolitan areas.

Conflict of interest None.

Funding None.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: .

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