Patients who have experience a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) often experience an irregular heartbeat due to paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF). This condition places the patient at higher risk of another stroke or TIA, but it can be difficult to detect the condition reliably as it can occur at random intervals spread over a long period of time. The typical treatment for such patients is to wear a Holter monitor, which records ECG data while the patient goes about normal data activities. In general, the patient wears the Holter monitor for 24 hours.
A study in England tested the standard monitoring against the use of a wearable patch. Patients in a test group wore a Zio monitor from iRhythm for up to 14 days, while the control group used a Holter monitor for 24 hours. The results showed that PAF was detected in 16.3% of the patients with the longer monitoring period. Only 2.1% of the control group were detected as having PAF. The patch was convenient for the patients to wear, and provided much more data than the Holter monitor.
Continuous monitoring of patient conditions is a key to the early identification of health conditions, which can result in earlier treatment and better outcomes. Scientific studies such as this one are essential to quantify these advantages.