Introduction: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a leading cause of preventable stroke and can be prevented with anticoagulants. Prolonged cardiac monitoring can lead to better detection of AF. Real time cardiac monitoring may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Objective: Primary objective is to detect AF using wireless cardiophone for 14 days in stroke patients.
Secondary objective is to determine the reduction of time of AF diagnosis resulting in a prompt change in clinical management.
Method: This was a Cohort/Prospective study at the Univesity of Alberta Hospital. Patients ≥40 years of age (without known AF on ECG/Holter) who had an ischemic stroke or TIA within ≤90 days were eligible. The signals from cardiophone were analyzed in real time at Canadian cardiac center in Windsor, Ontario. The incidence and time of onset of AF and change in medical treatment (anti-coagulation) was recorded.
Results: Out of 120 patients, 118 completed monitoring for more than 48 hours. Twenty out of these 118 subjects (≈ 17 %) were shown positive for AF. When compared with the incidence of 5% reported in historical controls wearing 24 hour holter, the difference was significant (chi square p=0.004). Fourteen out of 20 AF subjects (70%)had AF duration of < 30 seconds, while 6/20 (30%) had a duration of >30 seconds. Mean time from onset of arrhythmia to report was ≈48 hours; shorter than the time for report with Holter (≈10 days in Alberta). Ninety percent of AF positive subjects were started on anti-coagulation therapies.
Conclusion: Prolonged cardiac monitoring for 14 days increased the detection of AF approximately 3 fold as compared to 24 hour Holter. Cardiophone device allowed feasible real time monitoring of heart rhythm and faster reporting time (within 48 hours) that lead to prompt change in medical treatment by the health care physician.