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Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 11:05pm
EL PASO, TX — According to the Centers For Disease Control, every year more than 300,000 people die from heart attacks.
A tool that's usually used as a last resort is now it's being used as a preventative measure.
We've all heard of a defibrillator. It's used to jump start the heart after a heart attack.
You've seen them in hospitals and schools, but over the past few years, more and more people are wearing them.
It's called a life vest and it's saving lives.
About a month ago Fidel Aparicio feared for his life.
"He was having a heart attack and at the second of the heart attack his heart went into a very malignant arrhythmia," said Aparicio's cardiologist, Dr. David Turbay "He passed out three times and then he was saved in the hospital with shocks ".
After his heart attack and diagnosis of a weak heart, Dr. Turbay recommended Aparicio wear a life vest. It's a defibrillator that's worn all the time. It let's you know whether your heart is beating normally.
The life vest isn't new technology. It's been around for about seven years, but it's impact of saving lives is still just as important.
"The patient's worried they may have a malignant arrhythmia that would be fatal, the device can give them a shock to save their life, " Dr. Turbay said.
Aparicio hasn't had to be shocked, but other patients have.
"We've had a patient who's life has been saved," said Dr. Turbay. "I think it's a good alternative. It gives us peace of mind and it helps our patients".
Aparicio says the wearable defibrillator is pretty comfortable
and that it gives him peace of mind too.