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Ambulatory Cardiac Telemetry Detects Serious Arrhythmias

Researchers say this technique can potentially be lifesaving

TUESDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Ambulatory cardiac telemetry may provide clinical information that could potentially be lifesaving in patients with serious arrhythmic events, according to research published in the May 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Alan H. Kadish, M.D., of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues analyzed the arrhythmic events of 26,438 patients presenting for ambulatory cardiac telemetry at a single service provider from April to December 2008.

The researchers found that 5,459 patients (21 percent) had arrhythmic events that met physician notification criteria during a mean monitoring period of 21 days; 262 (1 percent) of those patients had arrhythmic events that potentially could be classified as emergent. These included 42 patients with sustained heart rates at less than 30 beats per minute, 120 patients with wide complex tachycardia, and 100 patients with pauses of at least 6 seconds.

"In conclusion, approximately 1 percent of patients who underwent ambulatory telemetry for routine clinical indications experienced life-threatening arrhythmic events over a three-week monitoring period. Ambulatory cardiac telemetry could be potentially lifesaving in this group of patients," the authors write.

Four of the authors serve as consultants for LifeWatch Services Inc., manufacturer of an ambulatory cardiac telemetry device.

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