Heart-monitoring LifeVest saves 98 percent of patients - KMSP-TV

Heart-monitoring LifeVest saves 98 percent of patients

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Cardiologists at the University of Minnesota are hoping more patients can benefit from using the LifeVest, a simple, lightweight, wearable defibrillator that can monitor your heart and save your life.

The LifeVest is worn 24/7, and for people with a history of heart problems, doctors say it's another line of defense.

Last August, Mike McSherry says he was just looking forward to another routine day in his Woodbury, Minn. home.

"I got up, had breakfast, everything just normal," McSherry said.

But then he started to hear a siren -- a screeching alarm coming from the black box, of his LifeVest.

McSherry was feeling fine, so he tried hitting the override switch to stop the alarm.

"I kept hitting the button to turn it off, but I was really heading down hill,"

McSherry said. "I was getting real light-headed and struggling to stay conscious."

After nine long minutes, McSherry's heart kept beating and beating, way too fast, preventing blood flow to his brain, eventually causing a black out. But his LifeVest sensed what was going on and sent an electric shock to his heart.

"That sent my heart back into normal rhythm, then I recovered and became conscious again," he said.

U of M cardiologist David Benditt is a part of a team treating McSherry. He said the LifeVest is becoming an important bridge device for heart patients.

"It's meant to cover the time frame between certain medical illness, like a heart attack, and the time we might put in a more permanent defibrillator," Dr. Benditt said.

Dr. Benditt said 98 percent of patients with a LifeVest survive, and Mike McSherry is now one of them.

The LifeVest is covered by most insurance plans but it's best to ask your doctor if it's right for you.

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