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ABC Sioux Falls: April 2018

Wearable Defibrillator Saves Woman’s Life

In this broadcast segment by ABC Sioux Falls, Carole Van Riessen explains how the ZOLL LifeVest wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) saved her life when she experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). LifeVest was prescribed by her cardiologist, Dr. Elden Rand. Carole’s life was saved just three days after she began wearing the device.

Carole was a candidate for the LifeVest WCD because, following a recent heart attack, her “ejection fraction” – a measure of how efficiently the heart is pumping – was below 35 percent. A normal ejection fraction is 55-70 percent. Carole’s reduced heart function put her at risk of SCA. 

SCA occurs when the heart unexpectedly develops a rapid life-threatening rhythm. When this occurs, the heart beats so fast that it quivers instead of effectively pumping blood to the body and brain, which causes victims to pass out immediately. Without treatment, death can occur in minutes.

In less than one minute, Carole’s LifeVest detected her heart’s dangerous rhythm and delivered a treatment shock that restored a normal heart rhythm and saved her life. 

Carole later received an implantable defibrillator (ICD) for permanent protection. She credits Dr. Rand and the LifeVest WCD with saving her life, and is grateful for her second chance.

“Without LifeVest, I really don’t think I would be here,” said Carole.

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