The heartbeat is controlled by the heart’s electrical system. When this system fails, it can trigger a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm. This causes the heart to quiver or shake instead of pumping blood to the body and brain. This is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Without immediate treatment, death occurs in minutes; this is sudden cardiac death (SCD).
As the third most common cause of death in the United States, SCA is experienced by 356,000 people every year. 90% of SCA episodes are fatal outside of a hospital; however, survival rates can increase with immediate treatment. If a bystander is present, they can administer CPR or use an automated external defibrillator (AED). For certain at risk heart patients, a physician may prescribe a ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD), which does not require any bystander assistance.
Unlike an AED, ZOLL LifeVest is worn directly against the skin 24 hours a day. It should only be removed for a short shower or bath. When worn as directed, the device can provide a constant safeguard against SCD. ZOLL LifeVest is designed to detect life-threatening rapid heart rhythms and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal rhythm. LifeVest does not require the assistance of another person or emergency personnel for it to work, so it can provide SCD protection even when a person is alone.
LifeVest is indicated for a wide range of heart patients who are at risk for SCD. This includes patients who have a low ejection fraction (EF) or weak heart muscle and one of the following:
- Recent heart attack
- Heart failure
- Non-ischemic cardiomyopathy
- A viral infection in your heart
ZOLL LifeVest consists of three main parts: a garment, an electrode belt, and a monitor. The garment is worn under clothing, directly against a patient’s skin. It also holds the electrode belt, which is designed to monitor the heart and deliver a treatment shock if a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm is detected. The monitor, which is worn around the waist or with a shoulder strap, continuously records the heart rate.
The entire event, from detecting a life-threatening rapid heartbeat to automatically delivering a shock, usually takes less than a minute. It is important to note that LifeVest does not treat all heart conditions, such as a dangerously slow heart rate or a complete stoppage of the heart, which are not treatable by a defibrillation shock.
ZOLL LifeVest allows patients to return to most normal daily activities with the peace of mind that they have protection from sudden cardiac death. The LifeVest WCD does not require the assistance of another person or emergency personnel to work, so it can offer protection at any time and in any location.
More information can be found at www.zoll.com.