Sudden Cardiac Arrest or “SCA” is an urgent medical problem that occurs when the electrical system of a person’s heart fails, causing the heart to stop beating effectively. If an individual experiences SCA, he or she may lose consciousness and fall to the ground abruptly. He or she may fail to breathe in the typical manner. Typically, a person experiencing SCA is unresponsive and unable to call for help. If treatment is not immediately provided, death can occur within minutes.
Data reported in the American Heart Association’s Heart & Stroke Statistics – 2020 Update show heart disease and stroke deaths continue to decline; however, sudden cardiac arrest continues to be a major public health crisis. Annually in the U.S., there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, and unfortunately nearly 90% are fatal. Death from SCA, known as sudden cardiac death or “SCD,” can occur within minutes without immediate treatment.
For every minute that passes without treatment, survival odds decrease by 10%. It is therefore critical that a person experiencing SCA receive immediate treatment. The most effective form of treatment for certain life-threatening rapid heart rhythms is defibrillation. Defibrillation is a controlled electric shock to reset the heart’s electrical system and restore a normal heart rhythm.
For certain heart patients that are at increased risk of SCA, a physician may prescribe ZOLL LifeVest. ZOLL LifeVest is a wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD). Unlike an automated external defibrillator (AED), it is worn directly against a patient’s skin. The device is intended to be worn around the clock, and only removed for a short shower or bath. LifeVest is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart and, if certain life-threatening rapid heart rhythms are detected, automatically provide a treatment shock. Unlike an AED, LifeVest can provide this treatment automatically — it does not require another person or a bystander to intervene.
The LifeVest WCD is made up of a garment, an electrode belt, and a monitor. The garment is worn under normal clothing. It contains the electrode belt, which is designed to monitor heart rhythms and provide treatment if needed. The monitor is worn at the waist or across the chest and records the patient’s heart rate.
ZOLL LifeVest is prescribed for a variety of heart patients, including those who have a reduced heart function following a heart attack, or for those with cardiomyopathy or heart failure, which may indicate an increased risk for SCA. On any given day, tens of thousands of patients around the world have protection from sudden cardiac death by wearing the LifeVest WCD. With LifeVest, patients can return to most daily activities and can have peace of mind that they have protection.