Introduction: Remote monitoring of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) is designed to decrease the number of ambulatory visits and facilitate the early detection of adverse events. We examined the impact of remote monitoring on clinical workload by a comprehensive analysis of transmitted events.
Methods: The study population consisted of 146 recipients of ICD capable of remote monitoring. Data were transmitted daily or in case of pre-specified events (e.g., arrhythmia, out-of-range lead and/or shock impedance). Transmitted events were classified as clinical (disease-related) or system-related. Event rates/patient/month were calculated and compared according to events classification and clinical groups.
Results: During a mean follow-up of 22 +/- 16 months, a total of 57,148 remote transmissions were recorded. Of these transmissions, 1009 (1.8%) were triggered by a pre-specified event, including induced ventricular fibrillation (VF) episodes during defibrillation threshold testing. The median number of events/patient/month was 0.14. Event rates were similar in patients with primary and secondary prevention indications for ICD (0.15 vs. 0.11). After exclusion of the induced VF episodes, 5.6% of transmitted events were classified as system-related and 94.4% as clinical. The median number of clinical events/patient/month was 0.023. The clinical event-free rates were 62% and 45%, at 1 and 4 years, respectively.
Conclusion: Remote monitoring of ICD patients is feasible. Despite the large number of data transmissions, remote monitoring imposed a minimal additional burden on the clinical workload. The rate of triggered data transmissions by critical events was, relatively, very low.