New lifevest gets heart beating - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New lifevest gets heart beating

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(05/21/13) - For people who know they are at risk for sudden cardiac death, there is a new lifevest.

It is kind of like the life vests most of us are familiar with, but this one doesn't float - it gets the heart beating again.

In the middle of the night, Everett Campbell was suddenly stirred from his sleep. The warning came from something his wife Barbara was wearing.

"I saw her jump when it shocked her the first time," he said.

When it happened again, "she opened her eyes, had no idea of what had just happened to her," he said.

"I hadn't felt anything, I just thought I woke up," Barbara said.

Barbara, who has a history of heart problems, had been shocked by the lifevest when her heart went into arrhythmia.

Dr. john McPherson prescribed it to her after putting a stent in her heart.

"The lifevest acts as a type of insurance policy," he said.

The device's sensors keep track of a patient's heart rate, and if needed, these pads will help restart it by sending strong electrical charges through the body.

"75 percent as strong as the paddles that we would use in the hospital," McPherson said.

Today, Barbara's back to making afghans. "I get excited every time I start a new one," she said.

Enjoying her grandkids and getting ready to celebrate 50 years of marriage. Everett believes, thanks to this, there will be many more anniversaries.

"We might go for a record, you know, 71, or 2, or 3, or something like that maybe," he said.

The lifevest is designed to be worn around the clock. Barbara wore it for three months before her frightening incident.

It can help patients as their hearts regain strength after procedures.

He says the only downside is the risk of the vest shocking patients when it's not needed. There are safety features in place to help prevent that.

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