Cardiac defibrillators are not on the corner of every street. Nor are paramedics. So how can the number of people surviving a heart attack that occurs outside the hospital be increased? Today, it is estimated that these people’s chance of survival is only 5%. This figure could be about to change with the use of the LifeVest device.

Belt, braces or connected life jacket: call it what you like, this is the innovation that everybody is talking about. Comprising a harness that goes around the chest and a box attached to the belt, this is not like other wearable technology. Its role? To watch over patients at high risk of sudden death, for example those who are waiting for a transplant or an implantable defibrillator.

200 grams

Four electrodes continuously auscultate the heart, triggering an audible warning in the case of a problem and an electric shock if the patient becomes unconscious- this shock can be repeated up to five times. Three patches deliver a protective gel to the skin before the shocks are given. The data are transmitted to a cardiologist via inbuilt electronics and the patient themselves can perform an ECG if they experience worrying symptoms. Produced by the American company Zoll, this medical device weighing just 200 grams is only taken off when in the bath or shower. The rental cost (3 180 euros a month) has been covered by the health service since 2015. A target population of some 3 300 people a year in France is concerned. The French National Authority for Health reminds us that “cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in France accounting for nearly 180 000 deaths a year”. Clothes not only make the man, but in this case might also save his life.