Defibrillator vest keeps heart patients safe

Defibrillator vest keeps heart patients safe from sudden cardiac arrest

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The LifeVest is a wearable, external defibrillator that offers immediate protection against sudden cardiac arrest. The LifeVest is a wearable, external defibrillator that offers immediate protection against sudden cardiac arrest.
Dr. Jay Crook says the LifeVest has saved multiple lives in our area. Dr. Jay Crook says the LifeVest has saved multiple lives in our area.
Chris is now able to get back to life as normal. Chris is now able to get back to life as normal.
"I know that if he didn't have it, he wouldn't be here. It saved his life. And in turn it saved all of our lives because if we didn't have Chris, we would just, I don't know what we would do," Christie said. "I know that if he didn't have it, he wouldn't be here. It saved his life. And in turn it saved all of our lives because if we didn't have Chris, we would just, I don't know what we would do," Christie said.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An East Tennessee man credits an innovative device with saving him from certain death.

Chris Sandifur recently got back to puttering around the house.

He's glad he can get up and around. The last time he tried some simple chores, he literally almost died.

"I got numb. My chest kinda gripped up," said Sandifur.

His heart was going into a type of arrhythmia that can be fatal.

"You just don't know what's gonna happen," said his wife, Christie Sandifur.

But fortunately for Chris, his wife Christie and their five children, there was a device to help.

After a recent diagnosis of congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy, Chris was outfitted with an innovative medical device - a wearable, external defibrillator that offers immediate protection against sudden cardiac arrest.

It's called the LifeVest.

Dr. Jay Crook, Chris' cardiologist at UT Medical Center, says the LifeVest got Chris through a critical few weeks to see if medications would help regulate his heart rhythm, or if he would need surgery to implant a defibrillator in his chest.

"Essentially it's a waiting period to see if the heart function improves," Dr. Crook said.

As it turns out, medicine therapy didn't work for Chris.

As he got ready to schedule the procedure for an implanted defibrillator, he wore the LifeVest day and night.

It kept watch by constantly monitoring his heart and detecting any arrhythmias.

As Chris's heart rhythm made a drastic and dangerous change, he became dizzy, almost passed out, and could've gone into cardiac arrest.

But the LifeVest quickly went into action with a sudden, controlled electrical jolt that shocked Chris's heart back into a normal pace.

"It was like getting hit in the chest with a two by four, without the pain," Sandifur said.

Chris no longer needs the LifeVest; he has since had surgery to implant his own internal defibrillator.

He's back to doing the things that used to tire him out, from shooting hoops to shopping, not taking one moment for granted. Everyone involved is grateful.

"At the end of this it's a beautiful story. A young man now with his family, is still around," Dr. Crook said.

"I know that if he didn't have it, he wouldn't be here. It saved his life. And in turn it saved all of our lives because if we didn't have Chris, we would just, I don't know what we would do," Christie said.

Dr. Crook says the LifeVest has saved multiple lives in our area.

If you or someone you love has shortness of breath that keeps getting worse, you can't do normal functions like you used to, it's worth getting checked out.

Insurance does cover the device for patients that meet the criteria.

To learn more about LifeVest, visit the company website.

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