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When do you need the ZOLL LifeVest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a potentially deadly medical occurrence that happens suddenly. According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, approximately 360,000 people in the U.S. have interactions with EMS personnel annually because they experienced SCA. Without immediate help, 90 percent will die, the foundation notes. Death, known as sudden cardiac death or SCD, can occur within minutes without immediate treatment.

A failure of the heart’s electrical system is frequently the cause of SCA, causing the heart to beat dangerously fast, such that the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood. The heart will quiver or shake instead of pumping blood to the body and brain.

Many people confuse SCA with a heart attack, but they are not the same. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation notes that there are several differences between SCA and heart attack. Whereas victims of SCA are unresponsive, breathe abnormally and need defibrillation, heart attack victims are responsive, breath normally and do not need defibrillation. Additionally, a person will typically experience warning signs or symptoms if they suffer a heart attack – like severe chest pain or nausea; however, there are often no warning signs or symptoms immediately prior to SCA.

For certain heart patients who are at risk of SCA, a physician may prescribe the ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD). ZOLL LifeVest can be prescribed to a range of heart patients, including those who have a reduced heart function following a heart attack, or a new diagnosis of heart failure or cardiomyopathy.

The LifeVest WCD consists of three main parts: a garment, an electrode belt, and a monitor. The garment is worn directly against a person’s skin and holds the electrode belt, which is designed to monitor a patient’s heart rhythm and deliver treatment shocks if needed. The monitor can be worn around the waist or with a shoulder strap and continuously records heart rate.

If treatment is needed, a person wearing ZOLL LifeVest does not require a bystander to intervene. LifeVest is designed to deliver a treatment shock automatically – the entire event, from detecting a life-threatening rapid heartbeat to automatically delivering a shock, usually takes less than a minute. The LifeVest WCD can provide protection against sudden cardiac death even when a person is alone. Therefore, a person prescribed ZOLL LifeVest should wear the device at all times, only removing for a short shower or bath.