Aims: Heart failure (HF) results in characteristic signs and symptoms including oedema and breathing difficulties. Heart failure is particularly suited to telemonitoring, because patients' signs and symptoms can be assessed remotely by healthcare providers, and deterioration can be quickly detected and addressed. In this paper, we review studies conducted in HF telemonitoring, to describe the nature of the modality, the methods, and the results.
Methods and results: Articles were obtained through a MedLine search, utilizing the term heart failure in conjunction with the terms telehealth, telecare, telemonitoring, web, Internet, remote monitoring, and self-monitoring. Studies utilizing various modalities, including telephone touch pad, specialized hardware, and websites for participants to enter data were found, with various benefits being reported. Most studies demonstrated improvements in outcome measures, including improved quality of life and decreased hospitalizations. However, not all studies reported the same improvements and in several cases the sample sizes were relatively small.
Conclusion: Telemonitoring appears to be an acceptable method for monitoring of HF patients. Controlled, randomized studies directly comparing different modalities and evaluating their success and feasibility when used as part of routine clinical care, are now required.