Health Highlights: Dec. 18, 2015

Health Highlights: Dec. 18, 2015

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Wearable Heart Defibrillator Approved for Children

A wearable heart defibrillator for children at risk of potentially deadly sudden cardiac arrest has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The LifeVest device is approved for certain youngsters who are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, but can’t be given implantable heart defibrillators due to medical reasons or because they’re parents won’t permit it.

Automated external defibrillators are available in many public places, but LifeVest is the only one that is worn by the patient and constantly monitors the wearer for abnormal, life-threatening heart rhythm problems, the FDA said.

When needed, LifeVest automatically delivers a shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

“The pediatric medical community is often forced to use adult devices off-label without appropriate labeling or instructions for use in pediatric patients,” Dr. Vasum Peiris, chief medical officer of Pediatrics and Special Populations in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency news release.

“Doctors now have important information that may help them safely prescribe this life-saving device to young patients who may benefit from the device,” Peiris added.

LifeVest — made by Pittsburgh-based ZOLL Manufacturing Corp. — weighs less than two pounds and consists of two main components: an electrode belt and garment that go around the chest, and a monitor the patient wears around the waist.

The device is meant for children who weight at least 41 pounds and have a chest size of 26 inches or more, about the size of an average 8-year-old, the FDA said.

The device was already approved for people 18 and older.

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