Wearable defibrillator suitable in some circumstances

7th April 2016

Two American heart organisations have backed the use of a wearable defibrillator in some circumstances, including some patients with newly diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.

The American Heart Association has just issued a scientific advisory on the  devices, such as the LifeVest, saying they are suitable for people thought to have a temporary risk of a cardiac arrest and those who would benefit from a permanent defibrillator but are not suitable for having one at present.

The statement, published last week online in Circulation, was endorsed by the Heart Rhythm Society.

"These wearable cardioverter defibrillators are increasingly being used in clinical practice, but if you look through the literature, other than a handful of observational studies and a few review articles, the knowledge base is very limited," lead advisory author Dr Jonathan Piccini (Duke University Medical Center, Durham) told Heartwire.

"So we hope that the concepts we put forward in the advisory—how we might think about using the device for patients who already have an indication for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) but who have a transient condition that precludes an implant or as a bridge to transplantation or when there is an unknown prognosis—will be helpful for clinicians who are seeing patients who might be at risk for life-threatening arrhythmias."

For more details see here and here.