UHS runs new trial with Life Vest

By Brandi Bailey

February 3, 2014 Updated Feb 4, 2014 at 10:32 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) It's as simple as putting on a jacket and increases the chance of survival after a serious heart attack.

It's called a Life Vest and it's a wearable cardiac defibrillator used for patients who have just recently suffered a heart attack.

"After a large heart attack there is a markedly increased incidents of patients dying of cardiac arrest, especially within the first 30 days," Professor at Brown University, Peem Lorvidhaya said.

It could take up to 90 days before a patient is well enough to undergo surgery to have an automatic defibrillator implanted.

The Life Vest has plates inside of it that will read the hearts rhythm.

"As soon as it detects a heart rhythm that meets the criteria it will automatically kick in and actually give the patient a shock through those plates," Lorvidhaya said.

The Life Vest became commercial in 2001. UHS is the first in the region to offer this treatment option.

"95 percent of the patients who have a cardiac arrest don't make it and the reason for that is once you have a cardiac arrest you need to be shocked within five minutes," Cardiologist Afzal Rehman said.

Unless you have a portable defibrillator or are near an emergency room, a person's chances of survival can be slim.

UHS is conducting its own trial on the use of Life Vest. Patients will be screened to determine whether a defibrillator is needed. If it's needed, Life Vest will be given to them free of charge.

" This trial allows us to not only protect those patients in the first 90 days but also generate scientific data so that in the future it can be said that these patients need a defibrillator or not," Rehman said.

It will increase the odds for survival and allow patients to heal before going under the knife.

The trail could last up to two years.