Comparison of automatic and patient-activated arrhythmia recordings by implantable loop recorders in the evaluation of syncope

Cengiz Ermis, Alan X Zhu, Scott Pham, Jian Ming Li, Marco Guerrero, Amy Vrudney, Laura Hiltner, Fei Lu, Scott Sakaguchi, Keith G Lurie, David G Benditt
American Journal of Cardiology 2003 October 1, 92 (7): 815-9
The implantable loop recorder (ILR) has become an important tool for evaluating patients with recurrent syncope. Second generation ILRs have the ability to record events either automatically (auto activated) or by manual activation (patient activated). In an attempt to evaluate the relative utility of the auto-activation feature, this study stratified ILR events based on a grading system designed to classify detected arrhythmias in terms of the likelihood that they provide a diagnostic basis for syncope. Data from 50 patients (27 men, mean age 64 +/- 22 years) who underwent ILR implantation for investigation of recurrent syncope were assessed. The arrhythmia syncope grading system used 5 levels, ranging from grade 0 (rhythm recorded during syncope) to grade IV (rhythm unlikely to provide a diagnostic basis for syncope). Thirty-six patients (72%) demonstrated > or =1 auto-activated or patient-activated recording during a follow-up of 14.3 +/- 7.9 months. Of the total of 529 recordings, 223 (194 after auto activation [86.9%]) from 30 patients showed a rhythm abnormality. Auto activation was more effective for documenting arrhythmias that were recorded during syncope or those with highest probability of providing a syncope diagnosis (grade 0 or I arrhythmias: auto activated, 19 patients, patient activated, 3 patients). Times from ILR implantation to first grade 0 and grade I arrhythmias were 13.4 and 7.8 months, respectively. The ILR auto-activation feature proved effective in providing a high probability basis for syncope (196 arrhythmia recordings [87.1%] in 27 patients) and enhanced the diagnostic effectiveness of the device compared with patient activation alone (29 arrhythmia recordings [12.9%] in 6 patients).

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