Diagnostic utility of real-time smartphone ECG in the initial investigation of palpitations

doi:10.5837/bjc.2018.006 Leave a comment
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Palpitations are a common symptom leading to primary care consultation. Establishing a symptom-rhythm correlation is important for providing a diagnosis. The Kardia Mobile personalised smartphone electrocardiogram (ECG) can provide patient-driven real-time ECG recording over extended periods. We investigated if this device might provide an effective alternative to conventional ECG recorders as the first-line investigation of low-risk palpitations.

Patients referred to our institution for investigation of intermittent palpitations but without syncope were supplied with a Kardia Mobile device if they had access to a compatible smartphone. Patients were asked to record an ECG when symptomatic.

Between March 2015 and June 2016, 148 patients were issued with a Kardia Mobile: 113 (76.4%) patients made symptomatic recordings during this period. A symptom-rhythm correlation was possible for all patients who submitted downloads. Median time to diagnosis was nine days (1–287 days). Diagnoses were: sinus rhythm n=47 (41.6%), sinus tachycardia n=21 (18.6%), supraventricular/ventricular ectopics n=31 (27.4%), atrial fibrillation n=8 (7.1%), and supraventricular tachycardia n=6 (5.3%).

In conclusion, the Kardia Mobile diagnosed the cause of intermittent palpitations in the majority of patients referred for specialist evaluation. Use of the Kardia Mobile may permit patients with palpitations to be evaluated in primary care.

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