The LifeVest wearable defibrillator treats sudden cardiac arrest by monitoring a patient for life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms and delivering a treatment shock if necessary, explains ZOLL Medical Corporation. The LifeVest consists of a garment, which fits under clothing, and also a monitor, which is worn around the waist or on a shoulder strap.
If a life-threatening arrhythmia is detected while a patient is wearing the LifeVest, the device alerts the patient before delivering a shock, states ZOLL Medical Corporation. This allows a conscious patient to delay the shock. If the patient is unconscious or does not delay the shock, the LifeVest automatically releases a special gel over the electrodes located in the garment and delivers a shock. This process typically occurs over less than a minute. Patients who are prescribed a LifeVest should wear the device at all times, except when showering or bathing.
Doctors recommend LifeVests to certain patients following heart attacks, bypass surgeries or stent placements. Patients with cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure may also be appropriate LifeVest candidates, according to ZOLL Medical Corporation. Most insurance companies cover LifeVests for patients who are awaiting implantation of implantable cardioverter defibrillators, or ICDs, or patients who are not eligible for ICD implant. However, it is best for patients to review their individual health plans to determine coverage.