Founder & CEO of Arrhythmia Alliance
Remote monitoring technology is the future for heart arrhythmia patients, because it can save unnecessary hospital appointments and free up the system for those who really need it.
If you have heart arrhythmia – an abnormal heart rhythm that is either too fast, too slow or irregular – you may need a surgical procedure to treat or manage your condition. This could include a catheter ablation (a treatment for atrial fibrillation, the most common form of arrhythmia), or the implantation of a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
Positive reaction from arrhythmia patients
However, there has been one positive outcome from the last six months. The pandemic has meant that a growing number of arrhythmia patients have been using remote monitoring technology to manage their condition – and their reaction to it has been extremely gratifying.
“We found that most people welcomed having a remote monitor at home that could monitor their device 24/7 without the need to visit the hospital. In fact, many wondered why they hadn’t been offered it before,” says Lobban. “For example, patients like video consultations because they do not have to leave the house, but can still make eye contact with their doctors.
We found that most people welcomed having a remote monitor at home that could monitor their device 24/7 without the need to visit the hospital. In fact, many wondered why they hadn’t been offered it before.
“Meanwhile, those who have a pacemaker or ICD implanted have been impressed with remote monitoring devices. This simple technology connects to their wi-fi and, while they are sleeping, sends information about the rhythm of their heart and device activity to their clinician.” If there are any problems, this shows up in the data and can be addressed by the clinic almost immediately. “I am a big believer that if you have a pacemaker or an ICD, you should automatically be given remote monitoring technology as part of your treatment plan,” says Lobban.
Indeed, she believes that remote monitoring is the future for arrhythmia patients. “It saves people unnecessary visits to the hospital and it saves money on hospital transport or public transport,” says Lobban. “Plus, it frees up clinics for patients who really do need to be seen urgently by healthcare professionals. And, of course, it helps reduce the spread of COVID-19, because most patients get to stay at home, which is particularly important if they are living with other comorbidities. In the long-term this can save the NHS money because it is more expensive to care for someone with COVID-19 than to give a remote monitor to someone who has a device implanted.”