What is a Lifevest Defibrillator?

lifevest defibrillator

If you are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, a lifevest defibrillator can help. It’s a lightweight wearable device that monitors your heart all the time and delivers an emergency shock if it detects an abnormal heart rhythm.

Patients with a history of heart disease or those who have had bypass surgery or stent placement are typically candidates for this technology. It is also used for patients who are not eligible for an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD).


A lifevest defibrillator is a non-invasive device that is worn on the body. It consists of a lightweight garment, an electrode belt and a monitor that sits on the chest or waist.

The monitor continuously senses your heart rhythm. When it detects a rapid, abnormal heart rhythm, such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, it sends you a message.

When you receive the message, your device alerts you by releasing a gel over your therapy electrodes and sending an electrical shock to your heart to normalize your heart rhythm.

The treatment shock can be repeated until you have a normal heart rhythm again. The LifeVest defibrillator is designed to protect patients at high risk of sudden cardiac death, especially if they are not candidates for or refuse implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.


When a person wears a lifevest defibrillator, the device monitors the heart’s electrical system and sends out an electric shock if it detects dangerous irregularities. The shock is designed to help the heart get back to normal, which could stop a dangerous arrhythmia that could lead to sudden cardiac death.

A lifevest defibrillator is used by people with heart problems that may put them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCD). This includes people who have had a heart attack or heart failure, those who have had coronary artery bypass surgery, and those who have stents placed in their heart.

A lifevest defibrillator can also be used to protect someone with a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction, which means that the heart’s left ventricle pumps less blood than it should. This is a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy.


The LifeVest defibrillator uses a series of alarms to alert the patient that it is about to deliver a shock. Patients can prevent shock initiation by simultaneously pressing two buttons on the device or releasing them.

The LifeVest detects certain life-threatening rapid heart rhythms that can cause sudden cardiac death (SCD). If the patient is conscious, the device will sound an alarm and then give a voice command to bystanders that a shock is about to be delivered.

The LifeVest detects ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, as well as atrial fibrillation and supraventricular tachycardia. The device then delivers a shock to restore normal rhythm.


If the device detects a dangerous heart rhythm, it will trigger an alarm and deliver a shock to your heart. The warnings will stop when your heart returns to normal.

Lifevest defibrillators are typically used to prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD) in people who are not candidates for implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). They can also be useful to monitor patients with high risk of SCD who have reduced left ventricular ejection fraction or undergone revascularization surgery.

In addition to detecting ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, the LifeVest can detect bradycardia and prolonged pauses. In most instances, the device’s alert features for these rhythm disorders are not activated.

In January 2018, patients and health care providers were warned about a possible problem in the charging circuitry that could prevent the device from delivering a shock when needed. The company says it is working to fix the issue, but if patients receive an error message such as “Call for service — Message Code 102” on their LifeVest 4000 screen they should call Zoll Medical right away.


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