It is unclear to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the use of remote monitoring (RM) of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs). The present physician-based European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) survey aimed to assess the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on RM of CIEDs among EHRA members and how it changed the current practice. The survey comprised 27 questions focusing on RM use before and during the pandemic. Questions focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the frequency of in-office visits, data filtering, reasons for initiating in-person visits, underutilization of RM during COVID-19, and RM reimbursement. A total of 160 participants from 28 countries completed the survey. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, there was a significant increase in the use of RM in patients with pacemakers (PMs) and implantable loop recorders (ILRs) during the COVID-19 pandemic (PM 24.2 vs. 39.9%, P = 0.002; ILRs 61.5 vs. 73.5%, P = 0.028), while there was a trend towards higher utilization of RM for cardiac resynchronization therapy-pacemaker (CRT-P) devices during the pandemic (44.5 vs. 55%, P = 0.063). The use of RM with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) and CRT-defibrillator (CRT-D) did not significantly change during the pandemic (ICD 65.2 vs. 69.6%, P = 0.408; CRT-D 65.2 vs. 68.8%, P = 0.513). The frequency of in-office visits was significantly lower during the pandemic (P < 0.001). Nearly two-thirds of participants (57 out of 87 respondents), established new RM connections for CIEDs implanted before the pandemic with 33.3% (n = 29) delivering RM transmitters to the patient's home address, and the remaining 32.1% (n = 28) activating RM connections during an in-office visit. The results of this survey suggest that the crisis caused by COVID-19 has led to a significant increase in the use of RM of CIEDs.
Keywords: COVID-19; Cardiac implantable electronic devices; EHRA survey; Remote monitoring.
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