Introduction: Evidence suggests that telemonitoring decreases mortality and heart failure (HF)-related hospital admission in patients with HF. However, most studies follow their patients for only several months. Little is known about the long-term effects of telemonitoring after a period of application.
Methods: In 2007, the TEHAF study was initiated to compare tailored telemonitoring with usual care with respect to time until first HF-related hospital admission. In total, 301 patients completed the study after a follow-up period of one year. No differences could be found in time to first HF-related admission between intervention and control groups. Here, we performed a retrospective analysis in order to investigate potential long-term effects of telemonitoring. The primary endpoint was time to first HF-related hospital admission. Secondary endpoints were, amongst others, all-cause mortality, hospital admission due to HF and days alive and out of hospital (DAOOH). Electronic files of all included patients were reviewed between October 2007 and September 2015.
Result: Mean follow-up duration was 1652 days (standard deviation: 1055 days). No significant difference in time to first HF-related hospital admission (log-rank test, p = 0.15), all-cause mortality (log-rank test, p = 0.43), or DAOOH (two-sample t-test, p = 0.87) could be found. However, patients that underwent telemonitoring had significantly fewer HF-related hospital admissions (incident rate ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.31-0.88).
Discussion: Telemonitoring did not significantly influence the long-term outcome in our study. Therefore, extending the follow-up period of telemonitoring studies in HF patients is probably not beneficial.
Keywords: Heart failure; hospital admission; long-term effects; mortality; telemonitoring.