Device Allows Diagnosis for Unexplained Palpitations

More cost-effective than conventional treatment

THURSDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- An implantable loop recorder allows a diagnosis to be made and is more cost-effective than conventional treatment for patients with unexplained heart palpitations, according to the results of a study published online April 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Antonio Raviele, M.D., from Umberto I Hospital in Venice, Italy, and colleagues studied 50 patients with unexplained, infrequent and sustained (one or fewer episodes a month for under one minute) heart palpitations. About half were randomized to implantation with an implantable loop recorder with monitoring for one year, while the remainder received conventional treatment.

The researchers found that a diagnosis was obtained in 73 percent of patients receiving the implantable loop recorder compared with only 21 percent of patients receiving conventional treatment. Although the initial cost of the implantable loop recorder was higher, the cost per diagnosis was less than half the cost of the conventional treatment group.

"In subjects without severe heart disease and with infrequent palpitations, implantable loop recorder is a safe and more cost-effective diagnostic approach than conventional strategy," Raviele and colleagues conclude.

The study was partially funded by Medtronic.

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