defibrillators, sudden cardiac death, ventricular fibrillation, wearable defibrillator



  1. Schott, Roseanne BSN, RN


Technological advances have increased life expectancy and improved quality of life for patients with heart disease. A new device, called the wearable defibrillator, is designed to provide monitoring and defibrillation capability for patients who have had an infarct and those awaiting heart transplantation. These two populations of patients are at increased risk of sudden cardiac death. This external wearable apparatus continuously monitors a patient's heart rhythm. The monitor is programmed to recognize the individual's heart rhythm. If the heart rhythm changes and meets criteria for a lethal dysrhythmia, the monitor will provide a series of alarms to the patient and bystanders. If the patient fails to respond to the alarms, because of loss of consciousness, the system delivers a shock to treat the life-threatening dysrhythmia. Although still in the investigational phase, this device holds promise as temporary protection for patients at risk for sudden cardiac death.