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Health Beat: 'Shocking' new fashion! The wearable defibrillator

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: May 28 2013 05:41:02 PM CDT

Shocking New Fashion

Studies show 30 percent of sudden cardiac deaths happen overnight. Now, there's a shocking new fashion that's helping people live to see another day: the LifeVest.

In the middle of the night, Everett Campbell was suddenly stirred from his sleep. 

"I jumped up out of the bed," he said.

The warning message came from something his wife Barbara was wearing.

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

Then, 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," said Barbara, who has a history of heart problems and had been shocked by the LifeVest when her heart went into arrhythmia.

“This was an unexpected, lethal heart rhythm," said Dr. John McPherson, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "The LifeVest acts as a type of insurance policy.”

The device’s sensors keep track of a patient’s heart rate.  If needed, pads on it will help restart it by sending strong electrical charges through the body.   

"Seventy-five percent as strong as the paddles that we would use in the hospital," explained McPherson.

“It saved my life," said Barbara, who's now back to normal, making afghans, enjoying her grandkids, and getting ready to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

Her husband, 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. The doctor said the only downside is the risk of the vest shocking patients when it’s not needed.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary

DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. John McPherson about the wearable defibrillator