Although ambulatory ECG recordings provide quantitative information in the follow-up of patients with ventricular arrhythmias, they are performed infrequently, potentially missing serious arrhythmias in the unmonitored periods. Telephone ECG systems offer "real-time" ECG information, theoretically functioning as an arrhythmia surveillance system. Thus we incorporated frequent telephone ECG transmissions in two antiarrhythmic drug protocols. The first investigation was designed to show the relationship of telephone and ambulatory ECGs in patients with frequent ventricular tachycardia (VT). The second protocol selected patients with "nonlife-threatening" frequent premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) in whom a second placebo period was instituted to simulate the clinical situation of asymptomatic arrhythmia increase. In both drug trials there was a strong linear relationship between the log-transformed PVC counts of telephone ECG and concomitant PVC, couplet, and VT frequencies on ambulatory ECG. In the VT population, ≥ 1 PVC on telephone ECG reflected the presence of VT on ambulatory ECG (sensitivity 87%; specificity 77%). In the second study, telephone ECG transmissions with PVCs on three consecutive transmissions reflected the change from ≤ 10 PVCs/hour to ≥40 PVCs/hour on ambulatory ECG within 48 hours. These data support the concept that daily survelliance by means of telephone ECG provides arrhythmia information of qualitative clinical relevance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine