Protecting the most vulnerable during COVID-19 and beyond: a case report on the remote management of heart failure patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices

Eur Heart J Case Rep. 2020 Sep 9;4(FI1):1-6. doi: 10.1093/ehjcr/ytaa249. eCollection 2020 Oct.


Background: Heart failure (HF) patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) represent an important cohort. They are at increased risk of hospitalization and mortality. We outline how remote-only management strategies, which leverage transmitted health-related data, can be used to optimize care for HF patients with a CIED during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Case summary: An 82-year-old man with HF, stable on medical therapy, underwent cardiac resynchronization therapy implantation in 2016. Modern CIEDs facilitate remote monitoring by providing real-time physiological data (thoracic impedance, heart rate and rhythm, etc.). The 'Triage Heart Failure Risk Score' (Triage-HFRS), available on Medtronic CIEDs, integrates several monitored physiological parameters into a risk prediction model classifying patients as low, medium, or high risk of HF events within 30 days. In November 2019, the patient was enrolled in an innovative clinical pathway (Triage-HF Plus) whereby any 'high' Triage-HF risk status transmission prompts a phone call-based virtual consultation. A high-risk alert was received via remote transmission on 11 March, triggering a phone call assessment. Upon reporting increasing breathlessness, diuretics were initiated. The prescription was remotely issued and delivered to the patient's home. This approach circumvented the need for all face-to-face reviews, delivering care in an entirely remote manner.

Discussion: The challenges posed by COVID-19 have prompted us to think differently about how we deliver care for patients, both now and following the pandemic. Contemporary CIEDs facilitate the ability to remotely monitor HF patients by providing rich physiological data that can help identify individuals at elevated risk of decompensation using automated device-generated alerts.

Keywords: COVID-19; Case report; Heart failure; ICD; Pacemaker; Remote monitoring.

Publication types

  • Case Reports