CHICAGO (AP) – Researchers tested using small drones to carry heart defibrillators to homes where people had cardiac arrests.

The drones arrived about 5 minutes after launching — almost 17 minutes faster than ambulances. That’s a big deal for a condition where minutes mean life or death. The next step is to test the idea on real patients. But experts say the results in a Swedish study are remarkable and proof that the idea is worth exploring.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death worldwide, killing more than 6 million people each year. Most patients don’t survive.

The Swedish researchers think drones could help reduce those dismal statistics. Their study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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