An electric-shock vest that can detect arrhythmias in heart attack patients reduced deaths among those who wore it as prescribed, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The highly sensitive wearable cardiac defibrillator (WCD) known as the Zoll LifeVest can deliver an electric shock when the heart beats out of rhythm. It was designed for around-the-clock wear to bridge the sensitive period before a pacemaker can be implanted.
Current medical guidelines recommend waiting at least 40 days after a heart attack before placing an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), and 90 days if the patient has had a vascular stent implanted or has undergone bypass surgery. The international study led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) had aimed to determine whether the vests significantly reduce sudden cardiac death. It appears today in the New England Journal of Medicine.