A Wearable Designed to Help Those with ICD’s
Welcome People with ICDs and their loved ones 🙂
I decided to write this post for the ICD community specifically, because you are the people that our ‘wearable’ is designed to help. I also wanted to introduce myself and to let you know about the mission we are on!
My name is Kristian Webb and I used to be a Cardiac Physiologist in the NHS but now I am CEO of a company making a device designed to help people with an ICD. What the device does is explained below so if you are not super interested in some background you can skip straight there and I will not be offended!
My Experience with People with ICDs
Having worked for 7 years as a pacemaker and ICD specialist, I learned a lot about the impact of cardiac devices on the people they are made to help. Especially the range of challenges people experience having received an ICD. We know the ICD aims to be the solution and not the problem, but there is a whole host of other things going on for a person with an ICD much broader than the device implant itself. For example, a person with an ICD may have been carefree several days earlier and now, often without warning, they are dealing with;
- a diagnosis of an underlying heart problem
- the physical trauma and presence of the ICD under their skin
- the loss of a driving license
- a real feeling of their own mortality
- the idea of the ICD shocking them at any time in the future
This is not even an exhaustive list but it illustrates that an ICD is a big deal and no wonder people respond differently and often with difficulty. So to you reading this, I can assure you that however the ICD (and diagnosis) has impacted you or your family, you are not alone or unique. I have seen it all and the amazing groups that now exist on social media will also support this sentiment. If you feel like you are not coping, you should never feel annoyed or disappointed with yourself, there is help out there for you and I encourage you to be an active member in taking control in your recovery! If you are coping well then that is fantastic, I would strongly encourage you to share your outlook, approach to life or coping mechanisms with the wider community as it can really help!
This experience meant I approached my clinics knowing that the persons mental health is as important than the device settings themselves. The power of the spoken word and the vulnerability of a persons mental health during a difficult time, should never be underestimated, I taught this to those I trained.
I’ve taken this appreciation and respect for mental health into LOIS Medical Ltd and even though our product appears to a solve a physical challenge of life with an ICD, for us it is much more about solving some of the psychological challenges faced by those affected by the increased possibility of a cardiac arrest.
LOIS Medical Ltd and the ICD Wearable
Our company story.
3 years ago, an old colleague of mine told me about a woman with an ICD who had passed away. Her heart condition had presented a cardiac arrest that the ICD was unable to treat. The ICD was charging and shocking but unfortunately the shocks were unsuccessful in correcting her heart rhythm. The husband was sat just feet away whilst this had happened, in the room next door totally unaware. When he went to check on her, it was unfortunately too late.
There were two parts of this story that I could not move beyond. Firstly had her husband just known that she was in danger, then he could have given CPR and provided a shot at survival. How is it in an age of technology, with remote monitoring could we not alert people that a person with an ICD may be in danger? Secondly, that the husband must have been left wishing he had just checked on his wife sooner, or had some opportunity to be with her or help her at the very end. This of course may not be the reality, but as I empathised it was certainly something that I imagined.
What the LOIS Respond Does
Being somewhat entrepreneurial, I set about making a solution that could prevent the above scenario ever playing out again. A device that would alert a loved one in the event of an ICD shock. It is of course your loved ones who are statistically most likely to be near to you and well place to provide help or support. The solution is called the LOIS Respond.
I guess now would be a good time to share a very early video of our prototype device working.
Below is a recording of a test we ran on some meat bought from a butchers (ethically this was the best way to run early tests on our device). If you are very squeamish then you may not wish to watch it but apart from some slabs of raw meat there is not too much to fear. Please note that all the meat in this glamorous video was bought from a butchers and then eaten / given to our pets for a very special dinner.
If you’ve watched the video, it should now be pretty clear what the basic premise of the LOIS Respond is. We know that it will not be for everyone but we also know that it will help some people with ICDs and that is what drives us.
In addition to the potential to save a life, there are other ‘benefits’ that became clear as a result of some early market research (thanks for anyone that came forward and spoke so honestly). For instance one person with an ICD felt that it would provide them with confidence to being alone with their children, knowing that if anything happened, help would be close at hand. Where as another person had hit their head after their first cardiac arrest and was so worried about being knocked unconscious / injured during a cardiac arrest, they hated being alone.
We know that following an ICD implant, the affected family can find it difficult to return back to ‘normal’ and a common roadblock is a fear of being alone or being left alone. People can often play out a scenario in their mind and the fear of that scenario coming true, means they adjust their life accordingly, often losing independence and confidence.
By ‘keeping an eye on your’ whilst you live your life, we hope that LOIS Respond will provide you that little extra confidence to return to a more ‘normal’ life and get back to doing the things you love.
Even if just a handful of people benefit, I have worked in Cardiology long enough to know that this will make it all worth while.
P.s. Until now we have remained tight lipped, but with a patent pending, a clinical trial around the corner and a product not too far from existence, we can happily talk openly about our journey.
CEO LOIS Medical LTD