Wearable Defibrillator: The next-gen solution for heart conditions

The field of Cardiology is quite dependent on defibrillators. In case of emergencies, defibrillators are a handy set of medical technology. Since its invention back in 1930, defibrillator has become an essential presence in all operation theaters. It is a kind of a last resort that, more often than not, succeeds.

Technological advancements have taken over the field of science. Implantable defibrillators took the medical field by a storm when they first came out. The newest technological addition to the field of Cardiology is the wearable defibrillator.

Unlike an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), this one is worn outside the body rather than implanted in the chest. This device continuously monitors the patient’s heart with dry, non-adhesive sensing electrodes to detect life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.

If an out-of-the-ordinary, life-threatening rhythm is detected, the device alerts the patient prior to delivering a shock, and thus allows a conscious patient to disarm the shock. If the patient is unconscious, the device releases a gel over the therapy electrodes and delivers an electrical shock to restore normal rhythm.

The wearable defibrillator is a treatment option for patients who are at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or sudden cardiac death (SCD). The wearable defibrillator fills the therapeutic gap between hospitalization and an ICD.

The wearable defibrillator has the same important characteristics of both an ICU/CCU and the ICD; it continuously monitors the heart and is designed to provide prompt defibrillation when needed.

It is believed that the wearable defibrillator has the potential to become the standard of care for intermediate-term patients at risk. And, in cases when an ICD is not feasible, it also can serve as a longer-term alternative.

However, health organisations warn that WCDs should not be used when non-arrhythmic risk is expected to significantly exceed arrhythmic risk, particularly in patients who are not expected to survive more than 6 months.

Wearable defibrillators are an appropriate therapy for protecting against sudden cardiac death among high-risk patient populations who cannot get an ICD. This therapeutic approach may have certain advantages over reliance on an automatic external defibrillator, as it does not depend upon the presence of a bystander nor the bystander s willingness and ability to use an automatic external defibrillator.

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