Recent data suggest continuous monitoring by implanted loop recorder (ILR) to be the criterion standard for rhythm surveillance after atrial ablation. Studies describing patient compliance and pitfalls in the perioperative period are lacking. It was the aim of this study to evaluate patient compliance and time invested by physicians for obtaining data during the follow-up period after implanting an ILR.
We prospectively collected data of 70 consecutive patients undergoing concomitant cardiac surgery, atrial ablation, and implantation of an ILR. Patient compliance was calculated as the ratio of incoming/expected data transmission. We documented total time spent by physicians with preoperative and postoperative supervision.
Between February 2012 and February 2013, a total of 70 patients had an ILR implanted; 49 of 70 patients were eligible for evaluation of data at 3-month follow-up. The ratio of incoming/expected data transmission was 12/49 (24%). The mean ± SD time spent with ILR-related issues during hospital stay was 88 ± 19 minutes. Assessment of incoming data and information of the patient and the general practitioner took 132 ± 13 minutes per patient. Overall, a mean ± SD of 220 ± 16 minutes per patient was needed for appropriate data acquisition, from implantation to first data transmission.
In the patients having an ILR after surgical atrial ablation, initial compliance regarding data transmission was low. A substantial time effort was necessary to obtain sufficient data on cardiac rhythm. Device-related complications were observed. Patient selection should therefore be handled with care. Beneficial therapeutic decisions can be expected only when reliable data are obtained by efficient management.