Defibrillator vest saves Portland man's life


The last thing Danny Keen felt like wearing after his quadruple bypass was a defibrillator vest. But just four days after his surgery, the LifeVest, a wearable defibrillator that shocks the heart back into rhythm upon detecting arrhythmia, proved to be worth every bit of initial discomfort when it saved the Portland man’s life.

“I thought it was going to be tight around my chest and uncomfortable,” he said. “But I wanted to follow my doctor’s orders, so I wore it.”

As instructed by his physician, Keen, 58, wore the LifeVest for 24-hours a day and only removed it when bathing. In the short amount of time it took him to bathe and put the vest back on, his heart stopped beating.

“It was the scariest moment of my life but I knew if I could just remain calm and get the battery back in the vest that it would save him,” recalled Keen’s mother and caregiver, Dorothy.

It wasn’t until the LifeVest’s second zap that Keen began breathing again.

“The LifeVest is a type of insurance policy for patients who are recovering from a recent cardiac event and may not be suitable for an internal defibrillator,” said V. Seenu Reddy, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon, TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular. “Typically, there’s a 90-day waiting period for most studies before it’s determined that a patient will actually need an internal defibrillator.”

Immediately following Keen’s quadruple bypass, Reddy recommended he wear the LifeVest while his muscle damage healed.

“His heart had not fully recovered from the heart attack before his bypass,” said Reddy. “The LifeVest was a great, non-invasive option for him because it protected his heart until we could do further tests to determine his long-term needs.”

He didn’t have to wait long.

Keen underwent surgery at TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center for an implantable defibrillator the day after the LifeVest saved him.

“I’m feeling better every day,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my parents and the LifeVest giving me a second chance.”

For more information about LifeVest treatment options and the TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center, visit or call Tristar MedLine® at (615) 342-1919.

Centennial Medical Center, part of HCA/TriStar Health System, is a 657-bed facility accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. One of Tennessee’s most complete medical facilities, the hospital campus is also home to The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Centennial, Women’s & Children’s Hospital at Centennial, Centennial Heart & Vascular Center, as well as Parthenon Pavilion, one of the oldest and largest full-service psychiatric facilities in the region. Round-the-clock care is also available at Centennial Medical Center at Ashland City, a critical access hospital in nearby Cheatham County. To learn more, visit and click on Centennial Medical Center or call (800) 242-5662.

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