ROANOKE, VA -- Heart disease is known as the silent killer because a heart attack or cardiac arrest can happen without warning.
New technology called a LifeVest is allowing some patients to sleep easier, because it is an additional safety check that one man says saved his life.
Similar to the AED devices you see mounted on walls to use in case someone has a heart attack, a LifeVest has technology that allows a patient to have this kind of protection whenever he or she wears it.
Eugene Paxton, Jr. and his daughter Ida Kay Manspile believe it saved his life.
She says, "His heart apparently was just fluttering."
Carilion Clinic Cardiologist, Dr. Jeffrey Todd says, "Many times patients pass away suddenly not from a garden variety heart attack where they get a clot and interrupt the blood flow. They have a situation where the heart beats so fast and so erratically they can't sustain life. That can often be treated with a simple shock."
He explains how the LifeVest was able to help Eugene when is heart started quivering while he was sleeping. "The device detects this delivers an appropriate shock and thankfully this terminates and he goes back to a normal rhythm mechanism again asleep when it happened back in February."
Ida Kay says, "It picked it up it picked up everything gave him that shock."
A patient will wear this life vest about 24 hours a day under their clothes it can serve a couple of different purposes:
- It is constantly monitoring a person's heart.
- It can be a bridge treatment for a patient who is waiting to get a permanent defibrillator implanted
- It can be used if you have a condition that might get better over time
When the heart starts to beat too quickly or needs a little help with a shock the patient will hear an alarm go off before it happens.
Eugene says, "I'm just glad it happened the way it did and that the outcome is as good as it was."
His daughter believes if he had not been wearing the Life Vest he would be dead.
Several patients in our area have used the relatively new technology that came out less than a year ago but Eugene is the first to prove just how well it can work.
He doesn't have to wear the vest anymore because he now has a permanent defibrillator implanted to monitor is heart beat and correct any problems that arise.