Patient FAQs


What is the LifeVest?
How does the LifeVest work?
Does the LifeVest require bystander intervention?
How many patients have worn the LifeVest?
What type of patient is the LifeVest appropriate for?
Is the LifeVest covered by insurance?
Who manufactures the LifeVest?
Is the LifeVest FDA approved?
Are there any other devices like this on the market?
Is LifeVest comfortable to wear and maintain a normal lifestyle?
Is wearing the LifeVest noticeable to others?
Is it ever appropriate for patients to remove the LifeVest?
How is the LifeVest different from an automatic external defibrillator (AED)?
Where is the LifeVest available?
Where can a patient or physician learn more about the LifeVest?




Q: What is the LifeVest?
A: The LifeVest is a wearable defibrillator that is worn by patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), providing protection during their changing condition and while permanent SCA risk has not been established. The LifeVest allows a patient’s physician time to assess their long-term arrhythmic risk and make appropriate plans.

The LifeVest is lightweight and easy to wear, allowing patients to return to their activities of daily living, while having the peace of mind that they are protected from SCA. The LifeVest is non-invasive and consists of two main components – a garment and a monitor. The garment, worn under the clothing, detects arrhythmias and delivers treatment shocks. The monitor is worn around the waist or from a shoulder strap and continuously monitors the patient’s heart.

Q: How does the LifeVest work?
A: If a life-threatening heart rhythm is detected, the device delivers a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm. The entire event, from detecting a life-threatening arrhythmia to automatically delivering a treatment shock, usually occurs in less than a minute. Timely defibrillation is the single most important factor in saving a SCA victim’s life. A treatment shock must be delivered within a few minutes after an event to be effective; with each passing minute, a patient’s chances of survival drops 10 percent.

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Q: Does the LifeVest require bystander intervention?
A: The LifeVest does not require bystander intervention and has a 98 percent first treatment shock success rate for resuscitating patients from SCA.

Q: How many patients have worn the LifeVest?
A: To date, the LifeVest has been prescribed to more than 100,000 patients.

Q: What type of patient is the LifeVest appropriate for?
A: The LifeVest is prescribed by a physician as part of the continuum of care for patients at risk for SCA. The LifeVest is used for a wide range of patient conditions or situations, including following a heart attack, before or after bypass surgery or stent placement, as well as for those with cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure that places them at particular risk for SCA.

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Q: Is the LifeVest covered by insurance?
A: The LifeVest is covered by most health plans in the United States, including commercial, state, and federal plans. This list summarizes the types of patient conditions and situations that are covered. The patient’s specific health plan coverage policy should be reviewed to determine coverage for prescribing a LifeVest.

  • Primary prevention (EF =35% and MI, NICM, or other DCM), including:
    • After recent MI (Coverage during the 40 day ICD waiting period)
    • Before and after CABG or PTCA (Coverage during the 90 day ICD waiting period)
    • Listed for cardiac transplant
    • Recently diagnosed nonischemic cardiomyopathy (Coverage during the 3 to 9 month ICD waiting period)
    • NYHA Class IV heart failure
    • Terminal disease with life expectancy of less than 1 year
  • ICD indications when patient condition delays or prohibits ICD implantation
  • ICD explantation

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Q: Who manufactures the LifeVest?
A: The LifeVest is manufactured by ZOLL in its Pittsburgh, PA facility.

Q: Is the LifeVest FDA approved?
A: The LifeVest was approved by the FDA in 2001.

Q: Are there any other devices like this on the market?
A: No. The LifeVest is the first and only wearable defibrillator.

Q: Is LifeVest comfortable to wear and maintain a normal lifestyle?
A: The LifeVest is lightweight and easy to wear, allowing patients to return to their activities of daily living, while having the peace of mind that they are protected from SCA. Patients may work, and even perform moderate exercise, with the LifeVest.

Q: Is wearing the LifeVest noticeable to others?
A: The LifeVest is fit to a patient’s body and is worn under regular clothes. Other than the monitor, which is worn in a holster around the waist or on a shoulder strap, there is no evidence that a person is wearing the device.

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Q: Is it ever appropriate for patients to remove the LifeVest?
A: Patients should wear the LifeVest at all times, including while sleeping. The LifeVest should only be removed when a patient is showering or bathing.

Q: How is the LifeVest different from an automatic external defibrillator (AED)?
A: Use of an AED requires bystander assistance. The bystander operates the AED by applying the electrodes to the patient and following instructions.

By contrast, the LifeVest requires no bystander intervention. The LifeVest protects patients when they are alone or sleeping. The LifeVest provides constant monitoring, immediate protection, and offers peace of mind for patients. In addition, the LifeVest offers peace of mind for family members who may worry about awaiting EMS personnel arrival or having to resuscitate a loved one themselves.

Q: Where is the LifeVest available?
A: The LifeVest is available in the United States, Europe, and Israel.

Q: Where can a patient or physician learn more about the LifeVest?
A: Information regarding the LifeVest can be found at www.zoll.com or by calling 1-800-543-3267.

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