Wearable Defibrillator Saves Colorado Man

LifeVest Shocks 73-Year-Old Man Back To Life

A Colorado man is thankful for his wearable defibrillator after it shocked him back to life.

"We just took a walk up the street and back. I got up the steps and said, 'I'm going to pass out,' and that was it," said Wagner.

That's pretty much all he remembers from that day in October 2011. Wagner's doctor had just prescribed him to wear the LifeVest, a wearable defibrillator because of his heart condition.

"Only 25 percent of my heart was working at the time," said Wagner.

LifeVest monitors Wagner's heart. When the defibrillator detects a lethal heart rhythm, a loud alarm goes off warning him before the machine shocks his heart.

"The defibrillator said a minute and three seconds. I was actually dead for that long," said Wagner.

Cardiologist Dr. Arnold Pfahnl from North Colorado Medical Center said LifeVest saved Wagner's life that day.

"Your chance of survival goes down by 10 percent every minute (your heart's) not resuscitated," said Pfahnl.

Wagner knows he was very lucky that day to have his wearable defibrillator and his wife by his side.

"(My wife) did mouth to mouth on me and was slapping me in the face. She says, 'You're not leaving me yet,'" said Wagner.

Ten days after the heart attack, Wagner underwent surgery and got an implantable defibrillator and pace maker.

The family said it's been tough not just with the recovery process, but the thousands of dollars in medical bills that's adding up. With Wagner's Social Security income, they're doing their best to pay it off. Still, they are thankful for having that wearable defibrillator and for Wagner's second chance at life.

"He's not going anywhere. I'm not going to let him," said Sally, Wagner's wife.

The FDA approved LifeVest about 10 years ago but many cardiologists are just starting to use this as an option for some patients. LifeVest is covered by most insurance companies.

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