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Incidental and anticipated arrhythmic diagnoses in patients with an implantable cardiac monitor.

AIMS: In this study, we investigated a cohort of unselected patients with various indications for an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM). Our main objectives were to determine the incidence of arrhythmic diagnoses, both anticipated and incidental in relation to the ICM indication, and to assess their clinical relevance.

METHODS: We examined remote monitoring transmissions from patients with an ICM at four Italian sites to identify occurrences of cardiac arrhythmias. Concurrently, we collected data on medical actions taken in response to arrhythmic findings.

RESULTS: The study included 119 patients, with a median follow-up period of 371 days. ICM indications were syncope/presyncope (46.2%), atrial fibrillation management (31.1%), and cryptogenic stroke (22.7%). In the atrial fibrillation management group, atrial fibrillation was the most common finding, with an incidence of 36% [95% confidence interval (CI) 22-55%] at 18 months. Rates of atrial fibrillation were not significantly different between patients with cryptogenic stroke and syncope/presyncope [17% (95% CI 7-40%) vs. 8% (95% CI 3-19%), P = 0.229].For patients with cryptogenic stroke, the incidence of asystole and bradyarrhythmias at 18 months was 23% (95% CI 11-45%) and 42% (95% CI 24-65%), respectively, similar to estimates obtained for patients implanted for syncope/presyncope (P = 0.277 vs. P = 0.836).Overall, 30 patients (25.2%) required medical intervention following ICM-detected arrhythmias, predominantly involving atrial fibrillation ablation (10.9%) and medication therapy changes (10.1%).

CONCLUSION: In a real-life population with heterogeneous insertion indications, approximately 25% of patients received ICM-guided medical interventions within a short timeframe, including treatments for incidental findings. Common incidental arrhythmic diagnoses were bradyarrhythmias in patients with cryptogenic stroke and atrial fibrillation in patients with unexplained syncope.

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