Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a serious emergency that can prove fatal if not treated immediately. Sudden cardiac arrest happens when the heart abruptly stops beating effectively and the person collapses. In most cases, the victim will lose consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest is often fatal – known as sudden cardiac death (SCD) – if appropriate steps aren’t taken immediately.
The rate and rhythm of a heartbeat are controlled by the heart’s electrical system. Sudden cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. When this stops properly functioning, it can trigger a dangerously fast heartbeat. This fast heartbeat causes the heart to quiver or shake instead of pumping blood to the body and brain. When this happens, a person will suddenly pass out.
According to statistics, there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the US. Sadly, 9 out of 10 die due to the lack of immediate medical attention. When a person experiences a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm, the most effective treatment is defibrillation. Defibrillation is a controlled shock applied to the heart that can restore normal rhythm.
The risk of sudden cardiac arrest is higher for certain heart patients. A patient may be at higher risk for SCA if they have or have experienced one of the following:
- A low ejection fraction (EF) or weak heart muscle
- Prior heart attack
- Heart failure
- A history of sudden cardiac death in your family
- A viral infection in your heart
- Other risk factors for SCD include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol
Because time is of the essence for an SCA victim, a ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) may be an option for individuals who are at risk for SCA. LifeVest is used for a range of heart patients, including those with a low EF following a heart attack, before or after bypass surgery or stent placement, or after a new diagnosis of heart failure or non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.
ZOLL LifeVest is designed to detect a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm and automatically deliver a treatment shock. The LifeVest can provide SCD protection no matter the victim’s location or the time of day. It can even protect a heart patient when they are alone.
ZOLL LifeVest 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. It is important to note that ZOLL LifeVest does not treat all heart conditions, such as a dangerously slow heart rate or a complete stoppage of the heart, which are not treatable by a defibrillation shock.
The ZOLL LifeVest WCD is comprised of three components: a garment, an electrode belt, and a monitor. The garment is worn under clothing and directly against a patient’s skin. It holds the electrode belt, which is designed to detect dangerous heart rhythms and deliver treatment. The monitor continuously records the patient’s heart rate and is worn around the waist or with a shoulder strap.
A physician may prescribe ZOLL LifeVest if they feel a heart patient is at risk of sudden cardiac death. On any given day, tens of thousands of people around the world have protection from SCD by wearing the LifeVest WCD.