The benefits of remote monitoring in long-term care for patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.

OBJECTIVE: The increasing number of patients with implantable cardiac devices raises the need for more efficient outpatient follow-up care. Due to technological progress in communication and transmission systems and in the implantable devices themselves, telemonitoring can be widely used as an important part of care for patients and devices. Our objective was to evaluate the benefits of continuous remote monitoring using the BIOTRONIK Home Monitoring® (HM) system compared to standard outpatient follow-ups.

METHODS: 198 patients with single- or dual-chamber implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implanted for primary or secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death were randomized into a group of patients followed through standard outpatient visits ( HM-) and a group telemonitored by the HM system (HM+). Planned and emergency visits, ICD-related hospitalizations, and delivered shocks and their appropriateness were evaluated in the respective groups.

RESULTS: A significant reduction was achieved in the number of planned (by 48%, p<0.001) and total visits (by 45%, p<0.001) during a three-year evaluation. A comparable number of patients experienced one or more shocks. Mortality rates were equivalent, as was the number of patients hospitalized in relation to their ICD. However, there was a significant reduction in the number and proportion of inappropriate shocks delivered in the HM+ patient group: by 80% (p=0.002) in outpatient follow-up care and by 90% (p<0.001) when multiple shocks requiring hospitalization were included.

CONCLUSIONS: The HM system was an effective and safe method of follow-up in patients with an implanted ICD. Remote monitoring reduces the number of outpatient visits and inappropriate shocks.

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