According to the Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest is defined as an abrupt loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. It usually occurs after an electrical disturbance in the heart that causes an inefficient heartbeat that is unable to pump blood to the body and brain. It’s different than a heart attack which blocks blood flow to a part of the heart. Heart attacks can cause electrical disturbances, however, that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
This risk of sudden cardiac arrest is higher for certain heart patients. A patient may be at higher risk for SCA who has or experienced one of the following: a low ejection fraction (EF) or weak heart muscle, a prior heart attack, heart failure, a family history of sudden cardiac death, or a viral infection in the heart. Other risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol.
A person who has suffered sudden cardiac arrest needs to be promptly treated. Without treatment, death can occur within minutes. This is sudden cardiac death (SCD). A bystander can start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until emergency personnel arrives, but the most effective treatment is defibrillation. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, chances of survival decrease by 10%.
Sudden cardiac arrest can occur at any time and without warning. There are no warning signs or symptoms. Instead, a victim will suddenly pass out and is unable to call for help. When worn as directed, the ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) can provide a constant safeguard against sudden cardiac death. ZOLL LifeVest is worn directly against the skin and should only be removed for a short shower or bath. It is designed to detect a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal rhythm. The entire event, from detecting a life-threatening rapid heartbeat to automatically delivering a shock, usually takes less than a minute.
There are three main components to LifeVest: a garment, electrode belt, and monitor. The garment is worn under clothing and includes the electrode belt. The electrode belt is designed to detect dangerous heart rhythms and deliver treatment. The monitor, which can be worn at the waist or with a shoulder strap, continuously records heart rate.
The ZOLL LifeVest WCD allows patients to return to most normal daily activities with the peace of mind that they have protection from sudden cardiac death. LifeVest does not require the assistance of another person or emergency personnel for it to work. It can protect patients even when they are alone. LifeVest can give patients and their loved ones pace of mind knowing they are protected from SCD while wearing ZOLL LifeVest.