Wearable Defibrillator Helps Those At High Risk Of Heart Attack

Wearable Defibrillator Helps Those At High Risk Of Heart Attack

CREATED May 30, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Experts estimate 30 percent of sudden cardiac deaths happen overnight. A new wearable device has helped some people live to see another day.

In the middle of the night Everett Campbell was suddenly stirred from his sleep. The warning came from something his wife Barbara was wearing.

"I saw her jump when it shocked her the first time," he said.

When it happened again, "she opened her eyes, had no idea of what had just happened to her," Everett said.

"I hadn't felt anything. I just thought I woke up," said Barbara Campbell, who has a history of heart problems.

Barbara had been shocked by the LifeVest when her heart went into arrhythmia.

Dr. John McPherson prescribed it to her after putting a stent in her heart.

"The LifeVest acts as a type of insurance policy," said McPherson, Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The device's sensors keep track of a patient's heart rate and the pads will help restart it by sending strong electrical charges through the body.

"They are 75 percent as strong as the paddles that we would use in the hospital," said McPherson.

"It saved my life," said Barbara.

Today Barbara is back to making Afghans, enjoying her grandkids, and getting ready to celebrate 50 years of marriage. Everett believes, thanks to the LifeVest, there will be many more anniversaries.

"We might go for a record, you know, 71, or 2, or 3, or something like that maybe," Everett said.

The LifeVest is designed to be worn around the clock. Barbara wore it for three months before her near fatal incident.

McPherson said it can help patients as their hearts regain strength after procedures. He said the only downside is the risk of the vest shocking patients when it's not needed. There are safety features in place to help prevent that.