Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Certain heart patients, such as those who have recently suffered a heart attack or have been newly diagnosed with heart failure may be at increased risk. These individuals could greatly benefit from the protection offered by LifeVest, an autonomous wearable defibrillator that is designed to constantly monitor for life-threatening spikes in heart rhythm and independently administer life-saving treatment shocks as needed.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
The heart’s rhythm is controlled by a finely tuned electrical system, which aims to maintain an optimal heartbeat so that oxygenated blood can be delivered to the brain and the rest of the body. If this system malfunctions, it can immediately create a life-threatening condition known as sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This frequently results in a rapid spike in heart rhythm, causing the heart to quiver instead of beating normally. The heart is unable to effectively pump necessary blood to the brain and body. Almost immediately, this rapid spike causes individuals to lose consciousness, requiring emergency medical attention.
For every minute without defibrillation, an individual’s survival rate decreases by 10 percent. Outside of the hospital, sudden cardiac arrest is fatal for 90 percent of individuals. Unlike heart attacks, SCA events often do not produce any physical symptoms or tangible warning signs of an imminent occurrence. SCA events can be particularly dangerous if they take place while an individual is alone. With immediate loss of consciousness, victims are unable to call for help.
Who Can Experience Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
While an SCA event cannot be predicted, there are multiple factors that lead to a heightened risk of experiencing SCA. Patients who have experienced a heart attack have an increased risk for SCA. For those patients with a reduced heart function, this risk is most prevalent within the first 30 days after a heart attack. Patients with a long-term risk of SCA may need to have a defibrillator permanently implanted. For heart attack survivors who do not require revascularization, the implantation of a permanent defibrillator cannot occur until 40 days after a heart attack, and in the case of heart attack survivors who require a bypass or stent procedure, this waiting period extends to 90 days, which could leave these individual unprotected during the period of highest risk for SCA.
Individuals who have been newly diagnosed with heart failure or cardiomyopathy with a reduced heart function are also at a heightened risk of experiencing SCA. For these individuals, a permanent defibrillator cannot be implanted until 90 days after their new diagnosis.
Heart function is often measured by “ejection fraction” or “EF.” Individuals who have a below normal EF, which measures the efficacy of the heart’s pumping abilities to move a percentage of blood throughout the body per heartbeat, are at an increased risk of experiencing SCA. Though an individual’s EF can change over time, an EF below 35 percent indicates an increased level of risk.
Heart patients who have a reduced heart function following a heart attack or new diagnosis of heart failure or cardiomyopathy may benefit from the LifeVest wearable defibrillator. LifeVest can provide temporary SCA protection in the first months of their cardiac recovery.
How LifeVest Can Help
A wearable defibrillator can equip at-risk individuals with protection against the devastating effects of SCA. LifeVest is designed to constantly monitor heart rhythm, provide alerts upon detection of potentially life-threatening rapid heart rhythms, and administer treatment shocks to resuscitate individuals experiencing SCA, allowing them to regain consciousness. Without the need for bystander intervention, LifeVest can effectively provide treatment, typically in under one minute, allowing for resuscitated individuals to summon help and providing audible warnings to bystanders to call for emergency assistance.
SCA often occurs without any physical symptoms or warning signs. With immediate loss of consciousness, individuals who experience SCA are often rendered unable to seek emergency assistance, especially when they are alone at the time of the occurrence. The immediate administration of a treatment shock is the most effective means of surviving SCA. LifeVest is designed to provide this life-saving treatment.
Comprised of a wearable garment with an electrode belt and a monitoring device, LifeVest provides constant protection while allowing wearers to return to most everyday activities with the comfort and security of having protection from SCA. For convenience, the small monitoring device can be attached to a belt loop or worn via a shoulder strap, while the washable garment is worn directly against the body.
For certain heart patients at an increased risk of SCA, LifeVest can provide peace of mind and a life-saving treatment. At any given moment, tens of thousands of individuals are utilizing LifeVest so that they can have protection from SCA.