Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when a person’s heart stops beating. When someone is experiencing Sudden cardiac arrest, they can suddenly pass out without prior warning signs. SCA leads to sudden cardiac death in minutes if the person does not immediately get help. For every minute that passes, survival odds decrease by 10%. Today, only 1 in 10 people survive SCA; however, a wearable defibrillator, ZOLL LifeVest, could provide a constant safeguard against sudden cardiac death without bystander intervention.
Potential Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
A person’s heartbeat is controlled by the heart’s electrical system. In some patients, there is a problem with the heart’s electrical system and the heart suddenly starts beating so fast that it quivers or shakes instead of pumping blood to the body and brain. When this happens, the person can collapse and die suddenly.
Certain people are at an increased risk of experiencing SCA. You may be a higher risk if you have or experience one of the following: a low ejection fraction (EF) or weak heart muscle, prior heart attack, heart failure, family history of SCD, or viral infection in the heart. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treatment Options
An irregular heart rhythm can occur at any time and without warning. A person’s chance of surviving SCA can triple if a bystander immediately begins cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); however, the most effective treatment is defibrillation. Defibrillation is a controlled electrical shock to the heart to restore normal heart rhythm. As 7 in 10 SCAs happen at home where a person may be alone an unable to call for help, a physician may prescribe the ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator for a person at risk of SCA.
ZOLL LifeVest Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillator
ZOLL LifeVest is a wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) worn by a patient who is at risk for SCA. When worn as directed, the device can provide a constant safeguard against SCD. ZOLL LifeVest is designed to detect life-threatening rapid heart rhythms and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal rhythm. LifeVest does not require the assistance of another person or emergency personnel for it to work, so it can provide SCD protection even when a person is alone.
The ZOLL 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 contains the electrodes and therapy pads. The monitor can be worn around the waist or with a shoulder strap and continuously records heart rate. The entire event, from detecting a life-threatening rapid heartbeat to automatically delivering a shock, usually takes less than a minute.