A life vest is an unobtrusive, lightweight, and easy-to-use defibrillator that may help reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in heart patients who are recovering from a heart attack or have reduced heart function.
The life vest helps detect dangerously fast heart rhythms and automatically delivers treatment shocks to save your life. You wear the vest around your waist or with a shoulder strap.
What is a life vest?
A life vest is a wearable defibrillator that can be used by heart patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. This may include people who have recently had a heart attack or are awaiting surgery, or those who have reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), which is the amount of blood the heart can pump out with each beat.
It consists of a garment, an electrode belt, and a monitor you wear all the time except in the shower or bathtub. The monitor picks up your electrocardiogram (EKG) and alerts you if it detects abnormal rhythms that need treatment.
A vest is a type of wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD). It is lightweight and unobtrusive, and works without the need for another person to operate it as an automated external defibrillator (AED) does.
How does a life vest work?
A life vest monitors your heart 24 hours a day and delivers a shock treatment if a lethal arrhythmia starts. It protects you from sudden cardiac arrest even when you’re alone or sleeping.
A LifeVest is a lightweight, wearable defibrillator with a built-in monitor and defibrillation electrodes. It is worn underneath your clothes and can be used by children and adults who are at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
The LifeVest consists of two parts, one piece is the halter that you wear against your skin and the other part is a monitor. The monitor picks up your electrocardiogram (EKG) and sends signals to the defibrillation electrodes if your heart rhythm gets irregular or fast.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that LifeVests can prevent sudden death in heart patients who have reduced ejection fraction, or the percent of blood that pumps out of their hearts with each heartbeat. The device was shown to reduce the rate of sudden death in these patients by three months after they’d had a heart attack.
Why do I need a life vest?
For people who have a heart condition that increases their risk of having a sudden cardiac arrest, doctors often prescribe a life vest. This device monitors a person’s heart all the time and delivers shocks if dangerously fast heart rhythms develop.
It also records your heart rate and information about any shocks it administers. The information can be sent to your doctor, if needed.
The vest also helps you float in water, which is important for getting to a hospital quickly. It also keeps your head out of the water, even if you are unconscious.
A heart patient in Iowa recently used his life vest to help save his life. He had an enlarged heart, a weak heartbeat called ejection fraction and a heart attack.
He was prescribed a LifeVest by Pamela Nerheim, a heart failure specialist at Iowa Clinic Cardiology Department. She said the device acts as a bridge until a patient’s ejection fraction improves.
How do I get a life vest?
Life vests, or personal flotation devices (PFDs), are a special kind of clothing that helps you stay afloat. They can also keep your head out of the water so you can breathe.
They can be a bit pricey, so it’s important to shop around for the best deal on one. Medicare plans may cover some of the cost, though it depends on a few factors.
The most important consideration is a doctor’s recommendation that clearly states why you need the device. You should also pay close attention to the fine print.
A LifeVest is the newest and most effective way to prevent sudden cardiac death from occurring due to an abnormal heart rhythm. It works by sending a small shock to the heart when it begins to slow down or stop beating. It uses a combination of technology that includes therapy pads, ECG electrodes and a vibration box to detect and deliver the shocks. The device is designed to be worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.