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Remote Device Monitoring Linked to Higher Survival Rates



9 May 2014. A study of more than 260,000 patients with implanted heart devices shows those who took part in frequent remote monitoring by device maker St. Jude Medical, also had more than twice the survival rate of patients without remote monitoring. The findings from the study, which show a correlation and not necessarily cause-and-effect, were presented yesterday at a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society in San Francisco.

The research covers 262,564 patients in the U.S. with implanted pacemakers or defibrillators capable of remote monitoring with radio frequency signals. Signals from the implanted devices are captured at night while the patient sleeps by monitoring stations in the home and sent via telephone landline, mobile phone, or Internet and collected for access and review by the patient’s physician.

Data from the remote transmissions can alert physicians to any problems with the device’s operation or the patient’s status. The data can also, says St. Jude Medical, be integrated with electronic health record systems. Patients with implanted cardiac devices still need to visit their physicians to have the devices checked completely, as well as review their medical condition.

The results show implanted device patients who use remote monitoring system more often have a lower mortality rate and greater likelihood of survival than those who make little or no use of the system. Patients with frequent monitoring sessions — defined as weekly transmissions at least three-quarters of the time — had a 58 percent lower likelihood of mortality than those not participating in remote monitoring. Compared to patients with little remote monitoring use, the high-frequency group have a 35 percent lower likelihood of mortality.

The study has seven authors from St. Jude Medical, Valley Health System in New Jersey, Duke University Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic. Lead author Suneet Mittal of Valley Health System says in a St. Jude Medical statement that, “irrespective of whether a patient has a pacemaker or defibrillator, higher use of remote monitoring is associated with better survival.” Mittal adds, “Although these associations require further investigation, these important observations should have significant implications for individual patient care and best-practice guidelines.

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