Jackson “Blu” Hill of Daphne, Alabama was a typical 11-year-old boy who rarely sat still, loved football and rode four-wheelers. That was until he was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart disorder called Brugada a syndrome, a condition in which the electrical activity within the heart is abnormal. Blu suffered sudden cardiac arrest and almost lost his life, but he survived thanks to a piece of wearable technology known as the LifeVest.
Six weeks earlier on a usual summer night, Blu’s older brother Gabe had friends over to their home. When Gabe checked in on his little brother, he discovered Blu unconscious, face down on the floor. Gabe called for his mom, called 911 and Blu was rushed to the hospital. Following a series of tests and findings of abnormal heart rhythms, Blu was life-flighted to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. Blu’s pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Yung Lau, suspected Brugada, but tests were inconclusive. While ordering additional testing and making plans for his long-term care, Dr. Lau wanted to ensure Blu was protected from sudden cardiac death, so he prescribed the LifeVest wearable defibrillator.
LifeVest is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart, detect life-threatening rapid heart rhythms, commonly known as sudden cardiac arrest, and automatically deliver a treatment shock to restore normal heart rhythm and save a patient’s life. Blu was told to wear LifeVest under his clothes day and night, only taking it off for a short shower.
“Never in a million years did I think he would need it,” said Blu’s mom, Brook.
Just one month later, Blu was enjoying a night out at the rodeo with his grandfather and older cousin when his heart suddenly spiked into a dangerously fast rhythm. Before he could speak a word, Blu lost consciousness in the rodeo stands. Within one minute, LifeVest delivered a treatment shock that restored his normal heart rhythm and saved Blu’s life. He regained consciousness immediately after and was taken to the hospital.
Genetic testing eventually confirmed Blu’s diagnosis of Brugada syndrome and he received an implantable defibrillator or ICD for long-term protection from sudden cardiac death.
Blu and his family are facing a whole new reality with his heart diagnosis, but they are grateful Blu is here to share each day. His mom finds it difficult to put the extent of her feelings into words.
“Our heart is overflowing with gratitude,” Brook said. “My baby is still here today and it’s all because of that LifeVest.”