(NewsUSA) -Most people know the common signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, left arm tingling, or shortness of breath, but they may be less aware of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which strikes without warning when an electrical malfunction in the heart disrupts its ability to pump blood to the body and brain. Victims may suddenly pass out before they can call for help, and fewer than ten percent survive.
Alan Williams, a single father, is an SCA survivor who shares his story to help raise awareness and save more lives.
Many people who experience SCA have not had any prior heart issues. However, for others, a prior cardiac event or diagnosis puts them at greater risk for SCA, and for those known to be at higher risk, there are lifesaving treatment options available. The most effective treatment for SCA is defibrillation, which is the use of an electrical shock to restore the heart to normal rhythm.
These at-risk heart patients, such as Williams, may be able to enjoy peace of mind with ZOLL LifeVest, a unique wearable defibrillator, which is designed to monitor heart rhythms around the clock, even during sleep, and deliver a lifesaving shock if it detects certain abnormal heart rhythms.
Williams, of Kansas City, was prescribed LifeVest because a heart condition put him at risk for SCA. With LifeVest, Williams was able to continue his daily activities. "I was back to work," he says. "Because I had LifeVest, I knew that if something happened, it would take care of me."
Williams wore LifeVest for one month before experiencing SCA while in the laundromat with his son. He suddenly lost consciousness, and within about one minute, LifeVest delivered a treatment shock that restored Williams's normal heart rhythm and saved his life. After the treatment, Williams regained consciousness, and paramedics took him to a local hospital.
"If it had not been for the LifeVest, I wouldn't be sitting here right now," says Williams.
The LifeVest wearable defibrillator consists of a garment, electrode belt, and monitor. The garment is worn under the clothing, directly against the skin, as it contains the electrode belt designed to deliver lifesaving shocks when needed. The monitor can be worn around the waist or on a shoulder strap. No bystander assistance is needed; LifeVest can respond automatically to provide appropriate treatment.
Most individuals wear LifeVest as short-term protection against SCA, until their heart becomes stronger or until their doctor determines a long-term treatment. If you or your family member suffers from certain heart diseases, your doctor may recommend LifeVest.
"LifeVest saved my life," Williams says. "It gave me a future."
He adds, "You don't want to ever take your health for granted."