By Katie Wike, contributing writer
A study of patients with chronic heart failure has found that implantable heart rhythm devices which relay information to doctors improved patients’ overall health outcomes.
A randomized trial of chronic heart failure patients who have received defibrillator devices has shown the remote monitoring of these implants can help improve patient outcomes. The study, published in the journal Lancet, monitored more than 650 patients to come to this conclusion.
Researchers explain the background of the study, “An increasing number of patients with heart failure receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) or cardiac resynchronisation defibrillators (CRT-Ds) with telemonitoring function. Early detection of worsening heart failure, or upstream factors predisposing to worsening heart failure, by implant-based telemonitoring might enable pre-emptive intervention and improve outcomes, but the evidence is weak.”
The implants sent diagnostic data to doctors at set times throughout the day and whenever abnormal heart beats were detected. iHealth Beat reports that the data was transmitted through the Biotronik Home Monitoring Service Center in Berlin, which then published it on a secure website for each patient’s doctor to view.
Participants were then assigned to two random groups; those who were treated using the home monitoring protocol and a control group which did not use any type of telemedicine. Of the telemedicine patients, 18.9 percent showed worsened conditions. In the control group, 27.2 percent showed worsening conditions. Also, researchers note 10 patient deaths in the telemonitoring group, compared with 27 in in the control group.
Researchers concluded, “Automatic, daily, implant-based, multiparameter telemonitoring can significantly improve clinical outcomes for patients with heart failure. Such telemonitoring is feasible and should be used in clinical practice.”