“The LifeVest saved my life. It’s as simple as that,” says Dean Dalrymple, 53, about the night he woke up on the family room floor with broken glasses and a scraped-up knee. He had suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). And the LifeVest, prescribed by his doctor a month earlier after successful bypass surgery, had shocked him twice, restarting his heart as his family slept nearby.
Bypass surgery for clogged arteries can increase SCA risk, but the danger often drops significantly as the heart heals. As a result, doctors who specialize in heart rhythms (electrophysiologists) wait three months to treat patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
“With the current treatment guidelines, there is a window of time during which someone at risk may not be protected—and that’s when we recommend the Zoll LifeVest,” explains electrophysiologist Krishna Malineni. “When the vest activated, it proved what we had suspected—Mr. Dalrymple had a permanent need for an ICD and we promptly provided him one.”
Heart patients waiting for transplants or being treated for infection-related heart problems are also potential candidates for LifeVest, which is covered by most health insurance plans.
Unlike Mr. Dalrymple and other heart patients, however, most of the 400,000 Americans stricken by SCA every year have no idea they are at risk for the tragic event. Click here to read more about sudden cardiac arrest and ongoing research to better identify those at risk, as well as what to do when SCA strikes.