Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) Mike Evans was diagnosed with a dilated cardiomyopathy two years ago, with a fatal heart rhythm that cardiologist Dr. William Nienaber says put him at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
"Sudden cardiac arrest has absolutely no preceding symptoms. You're fine one minute, and you die the next minute," said Nienaber.
Though his SCA risk was low, Evans was prescribed a Life Vest, a one of a kind external defibrillator from Zoll. The vests are a short term treatment for patients with similar diagnoses to Evans'. According to Nienaber, it's a first option before an internal defibrillator is implanted in a patient. For 11 weeks Evans wore the vest all day every day.
"It was external, and you have to wear this thing around your neck, so I was getting tired of it," said Evans.
The three month treatment was set to end in late June, but Evans was planning on stopping a little early.
"We were just getting ready to go on a river trip in Utah and I wasn't gonna take it down the river," said Evans.
But just days before the trip, the Life Vest alarm went off in the middle of the night while Evans slept in his Fort Laramie home. Evans was in cardiac arrest.
Evans said, "It woke my wife up and then she woke me up but she said it was hard to wake me up."
The Life Vest administered the much needed electric shock to Evans' heart. Dr.Nienaber says there is no mincing words about it, the device saved him from a certain death.
"He absolutely would have died without the vest,"said Nienaber
Now with an internal defibrillator, Evans says looking back he's glad he listened to his medical team
Evans said, "I'm glad I kept it, kept it on."