Aims: The rapidly increasing number of patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) places a large burden on follow-up providers. This study investigated the possibility of longer in-office follow-up intervals in primary prevention ICD patients under remote monitoring with automatic daily data transmissions from the implant memory.
Methods and results: Conducted in 155 ICD recipients with MADIT II indications, the study compared the burden of scheduled and unscheduled ICD follow-up visits, quality of life (SF-36), and clinical outcomes in patients randomized to either 3- or 12-month follow-up intervals in the period between 3 and 27 months after implantation. Remote monitoring (Biotronik Home Monitoring) was used equally in all patients. In contrast to previous clinical studies, no calendar-based remote data checks were performed between scheduled in-office visits. Compared with the 3-month follow-up interval, the 12-month interval resulted in a minor increase in the number of unscheduled follow-ups (0.64 vs. 0.27 per patient-year; P = 0.03) and in a major reduction in the total number of in-office ICD follow-ups (1.60 vs. 3.85 per patient-year; P < 0.001). No significant difference was found in mortality, hospitalization rate, or hospitalization length during the 2-year observation period, but more patients were lost to follow-up in the 12-month group (10 vs. 3; P = 0.04). The SF-36 scores favoured the 12-month intervals in the domains 'social functioning' and 'mental health'.
Conclusion: In prophylactic ICD recipients under automatic daily remote monitoring, the extension of the 3-month in-office follow-up interval to 12 months appeared to safely reduce the ICD follow-up burden during 27 months after implantation.
Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT00401466 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00401466).
Keywords: Implantable defibrillator; Office visits; Patient schedule; Quality of life; Remote sensing technology; Telemedicine.