Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens flow of blood to brain and other vital organs stops.  Delayed treatment of SCD can cause death. ZOLL Medical Corporation, a manufacturer of medical devices and related software solutions, has a wearable defibrillator, LifeVest, which protects patients from risk of SCD.

LifeVest is lightweight and easy to wear vest that allows patients to go about their daily activities without worrying about SCD. According to the company, LifeVest is the first wearable defibrillator. Other options to LifeVest include implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). While ICD is implanted in the chest,  the LifeVest is worn outside the body. The device continuously monitors the patient’s heart with the help of dry, non-adhesive sensing electrodes to detect life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms. If LifeVest detests a life-threatening heart rhythm, it delivers a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm. LifeVest’s uses include treatment following a heart attack, before or after bypass surgery or stent placement. Patients with cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure, that places them at risk, can also benefit from use of this device. Data gathered from LifeVest gives physicians time to assess and adjust treatment and also understand patients’ long-term risk for sudden death. Information captured from LifeVest is captured in Zoll’s online patient management solution – LifeVest Network. This enables clinicians to monitor patient data downloaded from a patient’s LifeVest wearable defibrillator. One of the advantages of LifeVest is that most health plans cover the cost of the device.

Wearables in healthcare are starting to show their usefulness with effective and timely patient management. Zoll’s LifeVest is yet another example of usefulness of wearables in critical disease management.