25 July, 2023

Guidance published on wearable cardioverter defibrillators for people at risk of sudden cardiac death

People in Wales who are at risk of their heart stopping suddenly, may be fitted with wearable defibrillators following new guidance by Health Technology Wales.


Wearable cardioverter-defibrillators continuously monitor heart rhythm and automatically deliver an electric shock within one minute, when certain irregular  heart rhythms are detected.


They are worn like a vest against the skin and can be used as an interim measure during a recovery period or before further hospital treatment. The devices should only be taken off when the wearer is bathing.


Patients can take them home meaning they do not need to stay in hospital while waiting for medication to work or for the fitting of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).


Health Technology Wales looked for evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of wearable  cardioverter-defibrillators and has published guidance recommending the adoption of the device for some, but not all adult patients who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death in Wales.


Professor Peter Groves, Chair of Health Technology Wales and a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at the University Hospital of Wales said: “We hope the publication of our national guidance recommending the routine adoption of wearable cardioverter-defibrillators, will have a positive impact on the lives of people at risk of sudden cardiac death across Wales.

“This innovative technology will enable more patients to return home while awaiting further hospital treatment which will improve their quality of life and provide added reassurance that their condition is being safely monitored.”


HTW Director Dr Susan Myles added: “Our role as a health technology assessment organisation is to identify and appraise innovative health and care technologies with the potential to change lives in Wales and cardioverter defibrillators are an excellent example of that.

“We would encourage anybody with an idea for a health or care technology we could appraise to get in touch with us via our website


The HTW guidance can be read in full here.