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A 56-year-oldSan Antonio man is alive today thanks to his LifeVest, but not the kind that saves from drowning-- thekind that saves from cardiac arrest.

A month ago, Roy Rodriguez had bypass surgery. Doctors were concerned about the rhythm of his heart and prescribed him a LifeVest.

LifeVest is a wearable external defibrillator that can deliver a shock to save patients from potentially deadly heart problems.

The LifeVest is automatic, explained Dr. Carlos Roman, an electrophysiologist with Cardiology Clinic of San Antonio. It does not require anybody else to operate it. It automatically will save your life.

That protection paid off for Rodriguez. Eight days after surgery, while at home, his heart began beating abnormally fast -- more than 300 beats a minute.

Rodriguez called 911, but decided to let the vest give him a jolt when he felt he was about to pass out.

Just when I could hold this thing no longer, I kicked back, I dropped it on my belly and boom, Rodriguez recalled. It kicked me right in the chest, 150 Joules.

Immediately, Rodriguez heart slowed to a more normal rhythm. Now he has an implanted defibrillator for constant protection.

Roman said LifeVest saved Rodriguez from dying.

Absolutely, Roman said. No doubt. No doubt. Without that device, he would not be here.

Although it s just temporary back-up protection for patients at risk, Rodriguez said for him, it was like God s hand on my chest.

I was amazed, Rodriguez said. I knew its value. And don t I know now? I mean, it s incredible that this thing saved my life.

To date, the LifeVest has been prescribed to more than 50,000 patients. It has saved the lives of three San Antonians, including Rodriguez, in just the last three weeks.

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