Trending News Today: Drones Could Change the Future of Emergency Care

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

As the use of technology and artificial intelligence continues to spread across the health care landscape, drones carrying automated external defibrillators (AED) may save a person’s life who is going into cardiac arrest. According to NPR, Swedish scientists are examining the use of drones to cut down on the amount of time it takes between when a patient goes into cardiac arrest and when they receive their first shock from an AED. The American Heart Association estimates that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur in the United States outside of hospitals each year. New findings from a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that drone-delivered AEDs beat ambulances to the scenes of cardiac arrest. According to NPR, shocking a patient within 3 minutes gives them the greatest change of survival. “This is a really neat, innovative method to combat a problem that we have been struggling with for decades,” Dr Michael Kurz, associate professor of emergency medicine, University of Alabama-Birmingham and a volunteer at the American Heart Association, told NPR. “It's the same reason we have public access to defibrillation. Airports, casinos, large public venues have AEDs on the wall because presumably, it would take a while for EMS to get there. This is, like, public-access defibrillation on steroids, where we just bring the defibrillator to you.”

Noisy airports may increase an individual’s risk for high blood pressure, a new study found. Included in the study were 420 individuals who lived near Athens International Airport. According to The New York Times, an average of 600 planes take off and land each day at this airport. To precisely track the noise exposure, the investigators used maps made during airport construction and divided the surrounding area by noise levels of less than 50 decibels; 50 to 60 decibels; and more than 60 decibels. At the start of the study, approximately two-thirds of the participants resided in areas that regularly experienced noise at the 50 to 60 decibel level, and almost half had high blood pressure. Over the next decade, there were 71 newly diagnosed cases of hypertension. The results of the study showed that for each 10-decibel increase in noise at night, the risk of hypertension more than doubled. Additionally, cardiac arrhythmia was also associated with exposure at night. There were not any significant links found to stroke, diabetes, or the magnitude of annoyance a participant felt about the noise. The study is one of the first to show that outdoor noise could have a negative impact on cardiovascular health, lead author Klea Katsouyanni noted.

The District of Columbia has the highest rates of children with health insurance, The Washington Post reported. Findings from the newest Kids Count annual survey—–released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation––found that 98% of children living in the DC area were covered by insurance. The report also stated that nationwide coverage rates have reached a new high, with 95% of children insured in 2015, the Post reported.