PodMed TT – Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation With a Wearable Heart Monitor

Can an ECG patch that monitors heart activity for up to four weeks at home help diagnose the risk of atrial fibrillation better than standard methods? On PodMed TT this week, Rick and I discuss a study in JAMA that examines the issue and seems to come to a resounding “Yes!”

In this unique study, at-risk participants were recruited directly from a health insurance plan and randomized to a group that wore the patch immediately or not, with the other group delayed by four weeks. Over 2,600 participants were studied, and compared to standard methods, after four months, 3.9 percent received a new diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, compared to 0.9 percent for the control group. What’s not clear, as we discuss, is the clinical significance of making such a diagnosis, which begs the question of the utility of anticoagulation in these folks. More to come, no doubt.

Everything else this week is also heart-related: in Circulation, a look at whether multivitamins are of any use with regard to heart disease risk; a very provocative adoptee study and the genetic basis of heart failure in JAMA Cardiology; and back to JAMA for a USPSTF analysis of nontraditional risk factors for heart disease.

Until next week, y’all listen up and make healthy choices.