ACC: Wearable external defibrillators can prevent SCD
Research presented during a poster presentation at this year’s American College of Cardiology (ACC) scientific sessions showed that wearable external defibrillators are safe and effective devices for preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD) caused by lethal tachyarrhythmia.

“The benefits of automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillators (AICD) are well-established in certain patient populations,” the authors wrote. “Unfortunately, not all patients at risk for SCD meet guidelines for AICD implantation and how to protect them is unclear.”

Robert A. Hanson, DO, of Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital in Pontiac, Mich., and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of patients prescribed a wearable defibrillator between 2006 and 2009. The researchers collected and evaluated age, gender, reason for use, compliance, adverse reactions, therapies and outcomes.

Of the 158 patients administered a wearable defibrillator, 104 had a wearable defibrillator prescribed for newly discovered cardiomyopathy. Forty-seven patients had ischemic etiologies and 56 had non-ischemic etiologies.

The researchers also reported that three appropriate shocks—two for ventricular tachycardia and one for ventricular fibrillation—were delivered, one inappropriate shock occurred during the trial.

During the study, three patients died from non-arrhythmic causes; however, no patients died from a primary arrhythmic event while a wearable defibrillator.

In 2004, two studies, WEARIT and BIROAD showed that the use of external wearable defibrillators were effective in terminating and preventing cardiac tachyarrhythmias in high-risk patients who did not meet guidelines for implantation of an implantable cardioverter or defibrillator.

"The wearable defibrillator appears to be a safe and effective device for aborting SCD due to lethal tachyarrhythmias when used as a protective bridge in patients with an unclear need for AICD implantation," the researchers concluded.