Local man saved from sudden cardiac death by defibrillator vest
Man says vest shocked his heart three times
8:44 PM, Sep 11, 2013
St. Petersburg, Fla - Bob Truman is getting his heart checked out. He's used to seeing his heart doctor. He recently had a heart attack and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens the heart and puts him at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
"They were going to open me up, but they couldn't do it because part of my heart was bad, so they thought they'd go with the LifeVest."
The LifeVest is an external defibrillator worn under clothes.
It monitors the heart around the clock and delivers an electrical shock, if needed, forcing the heart into a regular rhythm.
Dr. Shalin Shah is an electrocardiophysiologist.
"Until now we had pace makers and implantable defibrillators which would help and shock them out of a dangerous rhythm, kind of like having an ambulance around all the time. But there is a waiting period after heart attacks where we can't plant these devices because we're not sure who is going to get better and who is not and that generally takes three months," he said.
But Bob wouldn't have lived three months. Seven days after, his heart attack he went into sudden cardiac arrest.
"When it did go off, I felt a good jolt." On his way to the hospital, after that, he went into cardiac arrest again!.
"They were working on me doing CPR and the LifeVest lit up and said stand back because it was going to give me another jolt."
"Most of the time by the time a shock is delivered the person is dizzy or has fainted, so they don't always feel the shock, but it does save their lives," Dr. Shah said.
The LifeVest kept Bob alive until an internal defibrillator could be safely implanted.