How a Heart Patient With AFib Was Saved by a Vest

When the alarm on Sheryl Blazer’s wearable defibrillator vest went off one morning in December, she was home alone on her new farm in Ponder. Her doctor had explained that if the vest alarm sounded when she was awake, she should turn it off so the vest wouldn’t automatically shock her heart. But before she could reset it, she passed out.

Sheryl woke with the alarm still chiming and the mechanical voice of her LifeVest™ announcing it had administered treatment and urging her to call for help — which she managed to do before passing out again. A week earlier, Sheryl had seen Dale Yoo, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Medical City McKinney, for an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (AFib). Dr. Yoo performed a cardioversion — a procedure that restores the heart’s natural rhythm using electrical current. He ordered the vest as a precaution.

“It was right before Christmas,” Sheryl said. “I think Dr. Yoo just had a sense about it and didn’t want me to go over the holidays without it. If the vest hadn’t shocked me, I would not have revived.”

13 heart-stopping events.

Sheryl’s heart stopped and was restarted twice more by the vest before paramedics arrived. On the way to the hospital, she was revived seven more times. Hospital staff performed three additional resuscitations for a total of 13 heart-stopping events.

“I didn’t know if Sheryl would be ‘that one’ that needed to have a life-save,” Dr. Yoo said. “The vest was about providing insurance. And this patient needed it. In less than a week she needed it for cardiac arrest over and over again. It saved her life. Without it, she would not be here.”

Heart Risk AssessmentAlthough Sheryl initially saw Dr. Yoo for AFib, a condition that increases stroke risk, the LifeVest showed that she also had viral cardiomyopathy — a weakened heart. Dr. Yoo implanted a pacemaker in Sheryl’s heart, which corrected her life-threatening condition.

Stroke is a medical emergency.“Dr. Yoo had the vision to give me the vest,” Sheryl said. “Other doctors have told me they wouldn’t have put it on me. Now, my husband and I are living the dream on our farm. I’m not limited in any way. I lift 50-pound bags of feed, muck stalls, collect eggs. I just turned 50 and I have a positive outlook on life. My friends told me your body goes at 50, but I’m so happy to be here!”

Heart check.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Take our free heart risk assessment at to find your personal risk factors.

Always call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.

If your ticker’s acting up, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.


What new Antibiotic Treats Pneumonia, Skin Infections is, atrial Fibrillation aFib or AF)?

At that pace, its no wonder you might feel opioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through Transplantation your heart skip a beat or flutter from time to time. I had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation but I did not realize it was a risk factor for stroke. Causes, common causes of Afib include: In many cablivi Approved for Rare Clotting Disorder cases, the cause of atrial fibrillation is not known. Causes include: Its also associated with coronary heart disease. Treatment for...

As the signal passes through the AV node to the ventricles, it signals the ventricles to contract, pumping blood out to your body. An overactive thyroid gland or other metabolic imbalance. With AFib, your heart quivers, beats too quickly, or skips beats. You'll have atrial fibrillation permanently, and you'll often require medications to control your heart rate. However, with appropriate treatment the risk of stroke can be substantially reduced. You can also chat online with other people like you, keep up with the latest research, and get tips to help you feel your best.