Ventricular arrhythmia can develop after a heart attack. A cardioverter-defibrillator can be a lifesaver for people with this condition.

The cardioverter-defibrillator sends a mild electric shock to the heart to return it to a regular rhythm if it is found to have a dangerous heart rhythm.

Usually, the small, battery-powered device is implanted surgically in the chest near the heart. This is known as an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

A vest defibrillator can be used as a bridge until a new ICD can be installed.

A vest is used to defibrillate people. A band of fabric is under the chest. The vest has a wire that can be worn over a shoulder or at the waist and is made of materials that are resistant to burns.

The vest is lightweight and should not interfere with sleeping once you get used to it.

A vest defibrillator constantly monitors the heart for irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Two of the more potentially dangerous arrhythmias include ventricular fibrillation, which is a quivering and ineffective beating of the ventricles, and ventricular tachycardia, which is an irregularly rapid heartbeat.

The shock to the heart is delivered within 60 to 90 seconds. The vests will usually sound an alert and vibrate.

The alarm can be turned off if the wearer is conscious and not in distress. The shock can continue if the person is unconscious from cardiac arrest or aware that the heart is beating irregularly.

The goal is to shock the heart back into a steady, healthy rhythm and prevent a serious incident such as cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is the sudden stoppage of electrical activity in the heart. This is an often fatal event.

The parts of the vest defibrilators are the same in all of them. The vest has a battery pack and generator. These can be worn over the shoulder or attached to a belt.

The heart is monitored by these electrodes. The vest has two defibrillation electrodes that are used toibrillate people.

Pros of vest defibrillators

  • Waiting for a heart transplant can cause cardiac arrest.
  • portable.
  • low maintenance
  • “It’s less expensive and burdensome than a hospital stay.”

Cons of vest defibrillators

  • It was somewhat uncomfortable at first.
  • shocks can be very painful
  • The vest and electrodes must be worn correctly.

A vest defibrillator may be prescribed to anyone at high risk for cardiac arrest who cannot currently have an ICD. Potential candidates include recent heart attack survivors regaining their strength and health to undergo ICD implantation.

Some people with ICDs have to have their devices removed because of infections, mechanical problems or other reasons.

For these individuals who are awaiting a replacement ICD, a vest defibrillator can be a safe and effective temporary solution. It can also be less expensive than a longer hospital stay with constant heart monitoring, according to a 2021 study.

A 2018 analysis of more than 400 children who wore WCDs because of ventricular arrhythmias found that the devices are safe and effective for younger individuals who may not be old or healthy enough to receive an ICD.

A person with heart failure who is awaiting a heart transplant may be a good candidate for a WCD to avoid going through the invasive nature of ICD implantation.

If your cardiologist does not determine that you have a high risk of cardiac arrest, you should not wear a vest defibrillator. There are other reasons for not having a vest defibrillator.

  • A life expectancy of less than a year.
  • A device cannot manage an arrhythmia.
  • having an arrhythmia that may be better managed with a procedure known as ablation

Along with monitoring your heart for dangerous arrhythmias and administering any needed shocks, a WCD also records your heart rate and information about any shocks that are given. The device can record how long you wear it.

This information may be recorded manually or automatically. Most vests allow you to send data over the phone to a doctor or a database that your doctor can access.

A vest defibrillator is meant to prevent cardiac arrest, which is different from a heart attack. A heart attack is when the arteries that supply the heart muscle are blocked.

“This can cause damage to the heart. The heart keeps beating even though it isn’t very effective.”

“Cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart’s electrical system stops, slows or weakens to the point where it is unable to pump blood out to the body. ibrillators help keep the heart’s electrical activity running smoothly, rather than keeping blood vessels open.”

“The cost of a vest is usually around $3,000 a month, with the recording and transmission of wearer data to the doctor’s office also costing a bit more.”

Does insurance cover a vest defibrillator?

Medicare and Medicaid will cover a vest defibrillated if it is necessary. Insurers have specific criteria that must be met in order for a WCD to be considered medically necessary.

“Depending on a person’s cardiac health, coverage is usually limited to 40 to 90 days.”

“A vest defibrillated is a device that shocks a person’s heart back into a normal rhythm. Others include:”

  • Automatic external defibrillator (AED). AEDs use handheld pads to deliver shocks from outside the body.
  • Advanced life support defibrillators. These defibrillators are equipped with AED functions and technology that allow healthcare professionals to manage a person’s heart rate.
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). ICDs are placed in the chest near the heart with two wires or leads extending into the heart to deliver shocks.

The risk of going into cardiac arrest while not wearing a vest outweighs the risk of wearing a device. There are some issues worth understanding if you have been told to wear a WCD.

An improper shock is the primary concern. This may not pose a serious health risk, but it can be painful. ICDs have the same risk.

When bathing, a WCD must be removed. There are periods where cardiac arrest is a risk.

The risk of a dangerous ventricular arrhythmia is greatest in the days and weeks after a heart attack.

“For many people, the risk of heart disease is lowered by cardiac rehabilitation, a heart-healthy lifestyle, and the heart’s natural healing process.”

A 2019 study of more than 11,000 individuals who were recent heart attack survivors reported that in the first year following a heart attack, the death rate was lower among those who wore a WCD when compared to those who did not.

If you are eligible for the surgical implant of an ICD or for a heart transplant but cannot yet have either of those procedures, you may be a good candidate for a vest defibrillated.

The devices are usually covered by insurance. They can be effective in preventing or treating cardiac arrest, even though they may be somewhat uncomfortable at first.