LifeVest Frequently Asked Questions

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


Q: What is the LifeVest wearable defibrillator?
A: The LifeVest® wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) protects patients at risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), when a patient’s condition is changing and permanent SCD risk has not been established. This allows a patient’s physician time to assess the patient’s long-term arrhythmic risk and make appropriate plans.

LifeVest is lightweight and easy to wear, allowing patients to return to most of their daily activities, while having the peace of mind that they have protection from SCD. LifeVest is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart, detect life-threatening rapid heart rhythms, and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

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Q: How does LifeVest work?
A: If a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm is detected, the device is designed to deliver a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm. The entire event, from detecting a life-threatening rapid arrhythmia to automatically delivering a treatment shock, usually occurs in less than a minute. Timely defibrillation is the single most important factor to save a patient that is experiencing a rapid, life-threatening arrhythmia. 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. LifeVest has a 98 percent first treatment shock success rate1,2,3 and a 92 percent shocked event survival rate (patients arriving conscious to the ER or remaining at home following their treatment event).4,5

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Q: Does LifeVest require bystander intervention?
A: The LifeVest WCD does not require bystander intervention and has a 98 percent first treatment shock success rate for resuscitating patients from a rapid, life-threatening arrhythmia.1,2,3

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Q: How many patients are wearing LifeVest?
A: On any given day, tens of thousands of people around the world have protection from sudden cardiac death by wearing LifeVest.

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Q: What type of patient is the LifeVest WCD appropriate for?
A: LifeVest is prescribed by a physician as part of the continuum of care for patients at risk for SCD. 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 SCD.

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Q: Is LifeVest covered by insurance?
A: 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 WCD?
A: The LifeVest WCD is manufactured by ZOLL in its Pittsburgh, PA facility.

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

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Q: Is LifeVest comfortable to wear and maintain a normal lifestyle?
A: LifeVest is lightweight and easy to wear, allowing patients to return to most common activities of daily life like work, shopping and moderate exercise, while having peace of mind that they have protection from SCD.

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Q: Is wearing the LifeVest WCD noticeable to others?
A: The LifeVest WCD 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 WCD?
A: Patients should wear the LifeVest WCD at all times, including while sleeping. LifeVest should only be removed when a patient is showering or bathing.

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Q: How is the LifeVest WCD 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 WCD requires no bystander intervention. LifeVest can protect patients when they are alone or sleeping. LifeVest is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart, detect life-threatening rapid heart rhythms, and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm. In addition, LifeVest offers peace of mind for family members who may worry about awaiting EMS personnel arrival or having to resuscitate a loved one themselves.

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

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Q: Where can a patient or physician learn more about the LifeVest WCD?
A: For LifeVest customer support, technical support, or medical orders, please call 1-800-543-3267 or email LifeVest.Info@zoll.com.

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1. Kutyifa V, Moss AJ, Klein H, et al. Use of the wearable cardioverter defibrillator in high-risk cardiac patients: Data from the prospective registry of patients using the wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WEARIT-II Registry). Circulation 2015;132(17):1613-1619.
2. Chung MK, Szymkiewicz SJ, Shao M, et al. Aggregate national experience with the wearable cardioverter-defibrillator: Event rates, compliance, and survival. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012;56(3):194-203.
3. Klein HU, Meltendorf U, Reek S, et al. Bridging a temporary high risk of sudden arrhythmic death: Experience with the wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD). Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2010;33:353-367.
4. Waessnig N, Guenther M, Quick S, et al. Experience with the wearable cardioverter-defibrillator in patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death. Circulation 2016;134:635-643.
5. Epstein AE, Abraham WT< Bianco NR, et al. Wearable cardioverter-defibrillator use in patients perceived to be at high risk early post myocardial infarction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(21):2000-2007.