In this edition of Healthy Living, Katie Gibas has more on a wearable defibrillator called Lifevest that is helping people living with heart problems live longer.
For most fathers, walking their daughter down the aisle is an unforgettable experience. But one Rick Suttell nearly didn't have.
"I wasn't ready to give up yet. Not at 57," said Rick Suttell, a patient.
Rick was diagnosed with heart failure and needed an implantable defibrillator. Before he was able to have that procedure, he was given medications and a wearable defibrillator called Lifevest, to monitor the heart's rhythm 24/7.
"It was three o'clock in the afternoon. I started to get hot and sweaty. I had a sweatshirt on, so I took it off. I felt a little lightheaded. I didn't think too much of it. Then I got dizzy, and the next thing I know, I'm staring at the ceiling," said Suttell.
On June 28, Rick had a sudden cardiac arrest -- the Lifevest recognized the abnormal heart rhythm and administered a shock to restore the heart beat to normal, which doctors say likely saved Rick's life.
"If we don't have the device, we would not be talking to him today. Believe it or not, it's very effective and the new technology really provides a life-saving tool," said John Cai, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist.
A report by the Institute of Medicine found that the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospitals is only 6 percent.
"Basically, those are the walking time bombs. They are walking around and lots of people just drop into sudden cardiac death," said Cai.
Doctors can download the information stored on the Lifevest to monitor a patient's condition. In Rick's case, that data confirmed his fatal arrhythmia.
"The wearable device far exceeded the best medication," said Cai.
On July 25, less than a month after Rick's sudden cardiac arrest, he walked his daughter down the aisle.
"It gave me another chance. Another shot at life. I didn't realize at the time that it saved me, but everybody told me it did," said Suttell.
Suttell says the Lifevest was comfortable to wear, easy to use, and covered mostly by insurance. He has since received an implantable defibrillator which is long-term protection from sudden cardiac death.