If you’re at risk for sudden cardiac arrest due to an underlying heart condition, wearing a lifevest wearable defibrillator could provide protection from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This device helps stabilize heart rhythm to protect from complications or death even during sleep or solo situations.
Tens of thousands of people around the world protect themselves from SCA with LifeVest WCD devices; however, according to University of Rochester (UR) researchers this protective measure remains under-prescribed and underutilized among most patients diagnosed with heart failure or cardiomyopathy.
What is a lifevest?
Lifevest wearable defibrillators are devices designed to detect certain life-threatening heart rhythms, and automatically administer treatment shocks in order to restore normal heartbeats and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), in which your heart suddenly stops beating and you pass out, leading to sudden death within minutes if left untreated.
Wearable defibrillators work by sensing abnormal electrical signals from your heart and then providing a treatment shock through electrode pads on your skin to correct its irregular rhythms. They’re specifically designed to detect life-threatening rapid heart rhythms like ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation – which are leading causes of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and sudden cardiac death (SCD).
As it’s estimated that half of sudden cardiac deaths occur when someone is alone, having someone nearby can also help protect you from being alone and dying from sudden cardiac arrhythmias.
LifeVest monitors must continually read your electrocardiogram, or EKG, in order to detect arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation and then give out treatment shocks through electrode pads on clothing to correct abnormal heart rhythms. Should an arrhythmia be detected, alarm bells will sound before treating it through shocks sent through electrode pads on garment.
If you are conscious, the LifeVest gives you less than one minute to respond to its alarms by pressing two buttons to stop treatment and avoid shocks. If no response is given within that period, however, the device will alert bystanders that an electric shock treatment shock is imminent and warn them not to touch you.
Once you are responsive, the device will deliver up to five treatment shocks directly into your heart – each shock being seventy-five percent as powerful as those used by professional responders, making this defibrillator much more powerful and effective than manual defibrillators.
If you have questions or would like more information on lifevest wearable defibrillators or would like one installed as protection from sudden cardiac arrest, Bay Area Cardiology Associates PA offers walk-in appointments or online booking. Their providers will assess if this lifesaving technology would benefit your condition during a physical examination and evaluation of heart health.
How does a lifevest work?
Lifevest wearable defibrillators are devices designed to monitor a patient’s heart rhythm and automatically administer an electric shock when it detects an unsafely fast or irregular heartbeat, in order to restore normality and prevent sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), an illness in which people collapse suddenly without warning and are unable to contact help for assistance.
Defibrillators work by sending an electric shock through skin and muscle into the heart, mimicking its natural electrical function to restore normal rhythm. This shock can be adjusted by either an experienced physician or automatically for maximum patient safety and effectiveness.
Implantable devices and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are two main categories of defibrillators: implanted devices and AEDs. When implanted under the skin of your chest on its left side, doctors usually implant an implanted defibrillator, connected with one, two, or three leads that relay information about each heartbeat back to it – it also acts as a pacemaker if your heartbeats normally.
An automated external defibrillator features electrodes attached to a patient’s chest and an alarm that sounds when the defibrillator is about to deliver a shock, alerting both patient and bystanders that a shock will soon be administered. When this alarm sounds, all are informed of impending danger as shock delivery approaches.
Once the shock is delivered, electrodes retract and the unit shuts off to protect the patient. Each sequence may contain up to five shocks; more may be administered if necessary.
If a lethal arrhythmia occurs, this device detects it automatically and administers a shock treatment within minutes – then alerting bystanders so they may contact emergency medical services if needed.
Doctors may recommend wearable defibrillators such as the Lifevest wearable defibrillator for patients at risk for sudden cardiac death, including heart attacks, cardiomyopathy (a weakening of heart muscle) or other irregular heartbeat problems.
Wearable defibrillators are lightweight and simple to use; you simply wear it under clothing. With its built-in battery that provides up to six hours of continuous use, the wearable defibrillator makes the best use of its size and weight.
Who is a good candidate for a lifevest?
If your medical condition or history of cardiovascular disease puts you at a high risk of sudden cardiac arrest, your doctor may suggest wearing a lifevest wearable defibrillator as part of a proactive strategy to decrease sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a small and lightweight device which continuously monitors your heart rhythm; when abnormal rhythms are detected it delivers treatment shocks to restore normal heartbeat patterns.
Defibrillators have been used in the US for more than six decades to save lives and many can return to normal activities thanks to this device. With their low failure rate and wide array of functions, these defibrillators continue to provide an essential service.
Lifevests provide relief to patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death as well as individuals whose defibrillators were removed due to infection or other issues; it’s an affordable and safe solution that may prove more suitable than having an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) installed.
Study after study has confirmed this correlation. One such investigation revealed that recent heart attack survivors wearing vests experienced lower rates of sudden cardiac death during the year following their attacks; another study concluded those equipped with it returned to work more rapidly than those without it.
This device is easy to use and doesn’t involve major medical procedures. However, you do require training in its usage as well as know how to perform CPR in case of emergency.
Your pads must also be placed precisely where necessary for each person you treat to ensure a successful shock treatment. Identify the specific placement for each patient so as to provide proper shock delivery.
If treating someone with large breasts, for instance, you must place the pad under their breast tissue so as to be effective – since thicker tissue requires more direct charges from heart-relaxation pads to restore normal rhythm.
People who have undergone surgical procedures will require pads to be placed underneath any scar tissue left behind after recovery, although this does not impact on its effectiveness of shock therapy and should not pose major concerns.
How do I care for my lifevest?
If you have been issued with a lifevest wearable defibrillator (WCD), it’s essential that it’s well taken care of in order for it to function efficiently during an emergency situation. By doing this, you can make sure it will be ready when necessary.
One of the simplest steps you can take to ensure electrode pads and batteries remain in good condition is making sure they remain unexpired and unopened from their respective packages. You should also verify the battery condition to ensure its health before continuing use.
Store your device in an area with cool and dry conditions to preserve battery life and avoid freezing gel-based electrode pads which could become inoperable in an emergency situation.
Be sure to regularly verify that the electrode pads are securely fastened to the machine, without any loose wires which might derail them and divert energy away from your heart, potentially harming it in the process.
At least every six months, it’s essential to conduct a battery check of the primary battery of an AED. Many models feature an automated test button so you can use this method to ensure everything is operating efficiently.
Be sure to periodically test the backup battery stored with your device, since a shock could discharge it and you need an alternative power source available in case this occurs.
Final steps include keeping the device and electrode pads free of bacteria and contaminants that could clog them and make them inaccessible.
Lifevest wearable defibrillators may provide effective prevention of sudden cardiac arrest for those at high risk, such as those who have suffered previous heart attacks or heart failure. Your Bay Area Cardiology Associates PA team can evaluate your heart health to determine if you qualify for one of these life-saving devices.
If you want to gain more information on how a wearable defibrillator such as Lifevest can protect from sudden death, contact your nearest office now or book an online consultation consultation session – our team of specialists are standing by ready to answer all of your queries and give the expert care needed for proper functioning of the lifevest wearable defibrillator.