The wearable cardioverter-defibrillator vest: Indications and ongoing questions

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2019 May-Jun;62(3):256-264. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 May 9.


Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) for the prevention of sudden cardiac death (SCD) among specific high-risk populations. However, it remains unclear how to optimally treat those patients who are at elevated risk of cardiac arrest but are not among the presently identified groups proven to benefit from an ICD, are unable to tolerate surgical device implantation, or refuse invasive therapies. The wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) is an alternative antiarrhythmic device that provides continuous cardiac monitoring and defibrillation capabilities through a noninvasive, electrode-based system. The WCD has been shown to be highly effective at restoration of sinus rhythm in patients with a ventricular tachyarrhythmia, and one randomized trial using the WCD in patients with recent myocardial infarction at elevated risk for arrhythmic death reported a decrease in overall mortality despite no SCD mortality benefit. The current clinical indications for WCD use are varied and continue to evolve as experience with this technology increases.

Keywords: Sudden cardiac arrest; Sudden cardiac death; Ventricular arrhythmia; Ventricular fibrillation; Ventricular tachycardia; Wearable cardioverter-defibrillator.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Defibrillators*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / therapy
  • Wearable Electronic Devices* / adverse effects