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Fort Worth Man Thrown A Rope Thanks To LifeVest

keyframe15 e1326166778138 Fort Worth Man Thrown A Rope Thanks To LifeVest

Credit: Zoll Medical Corp.

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – David Torres says he was on the brink of death three times last year.

“I’m the strongest one in the family never considered myself a person that’s going to be sick,” says Torres, who lives in Fort Worth.

He’s says he tries to be healthy and is an avid runner.

Torres, 59, has run 37 marathons, but last year he went through the unexpected.  “My first one scared me to death. I mean I can’t see myself going to the hospital and them telling me I had a heart attack really to me it was bad chest pain,” explains Torres.

That was in June.  In September he had another heart attack, and in October, yet another one.

Torres’ cardiologist sent him home with a cardiac arrest vest meant to be worn 24 hours a day.

The ‘LifeVest‘ as it’s known,  is a wearable defibrillator that monitors a patient’s heart and shocks the heart if it stops.  “I was half on the bed kneeling and praying and then when I woke up I heard the machine telling me call your doctor go to the hospital,” says Torres.  The vest’s alarm had gone off like a siren and a blue gel was released to protect his skin before giving the jolt of electricity.

His heart had stopped for 15 seconds.  “His heart had stopped the defibrillator shocked it back into a normal rhythm,” says Dr. Nayyar Shah with the Heart Center of North Texas. “If Mr. Torres was not wearing the life vest at the time and his heart would have gotten to the dangerous rhythm he would have not survived this event.”

Dr. Shah says the LifeVest saves one life every 3 weeks in North Texas.  He also says there are unnecessary shocks, but they are rare.

Torres has given up the vest.  He now has an internal defibrillator.  “Every day I get up I give thanks,” Torres says as he looks forward to his next marathon.  That’s if his doctor clears him.

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  • aiquoy

    I”m glad to see this alternative to a AICD/Pacer effective, since this could have turned out a tragedy. It’s interesting that it’s an external application instead of internal like an AICD. However I just want to correct a common misconception here. Fibrillation, by definition, is an uncontrolled electrical discharge throughout a muscular tissue that causes twitching (Atrial Fibrillation, Ventricular Fibrillation). Defibrillation is applying a strong electrical charge to the heart to stop the uncontrolled electrical discharging, and therefore stop the twitching. Asystole is when a heart flatlines, meaning there is NO electrical activity. Ventricular Tachycardia, Torsades de Pointes, Asystole, Ventricular Standstill, Failure to Capture, to name some, could all be classified as Cardiac Arrest, but physiologically (and electrically) they’re all distinctly different and each one calls for a different course of action. Like Torsades de Pointes for example. It can be contributed by either genetic defects or electrolyte imbalace (Low Potassium), which can be induced by bad diet or certain cardiac medications. Defibrillation would momentarily stop it, but it will continually recur within seconds until the electrolyte balance is restored (Where’s the Mag?!). However, they all have one thing in common; a harmfully reduced or non-existent blood flow, which can rapidly lead to death. A Defibrillating shock only STOPS the heart, allowing the heart’s strongest intrinsic rhythm to take over. In most healthy individuals this would be Sinus Rhythm. For a stopped heart, Asystole, you need something to get the heart going. Transucateous pacing with a AED, Hands Only CPR, or other immediately acting medications to induce electrical activity would greatly increase the persons chance of survival. Liken a Defibrillator to brakes, it stops the heart if it’s in a potentially deadly arrhythmia. Slamming on the brakes while you’re already in “Park” (asystole) doesn’t do you much good, does it? That’s why Defibrillating (shocking) a flatline (asystole) does nothing. TV stuff is lies. You want to brake when you’re going to fast and you want to accelerate when you’re too slow or if you’re at a dead stop. Talk with your Cardiologist if you want to understand more and maintain a healthy heart. Interesting trivia; Most conscious patients liken a defibrillating shock to being kicked in the chest by a horse. Not a fun experience.

  • http://philippehavinh.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/a-french-doctor/ A French Doctor « Health Services Authors

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