Purpose of review: To discuss the role of wearable cardioverter defibrillator (WCD) vests in preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD) in at-risk populations.
Recent findings: The impact of randomized-controlled trials with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) therapy is well established in randomized clinical trials in ischemic cardiomyopathy. Although the benefits are not as clear in non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, meta-analyses show significant mortality benefits from immediate electrical cardioversion strategies. The role of WCDs in at-risk populations in whom ICD therapy is temporarily not indicated is not as well-established. Smaller cohort trials have shown efficacy in patients with newly-diagnosed cardiomyopathy, requiring temporary ICD explantation, and others with less common indications for WCD therapy. The Vest Prevention of Early Sudden Death Trial was a landmark randomized control study seeking to examine the benefits of WCD therapy in at-risk population, and although the primary endpoint of reducing arrhythmic death was not reached, the structure of the trial and significant differences in total mortality make a compelling case for continued use of WCD therapies in our healthcare systems.
Keywords: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator; Ischemic heart disease; Sudden cardiac death; Ventricular arrhythmias; Wearable cardioverter-defibrillator.