Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic created a number of challenges in monitoring patients with arrhythmias and associated symptoms. This study looks at the impact of loaning 15 Kardia monitors from the arrhythmia nurses to patients in Sussex, over an 18-month period.
Explanation of basic methods: In 2020 we started to loan the monitors to patients to help aid diagnosis and review rate control. The arrhythmia nurses assessed patients on an individual basis and loaned the monitors following phone consultations and clinic reviews. The devices were either given in person or posted first class. The patient needed to have a compatible phone for the app. We sent them information on how to download and set up the app and on how to email the electrocardiograms (ECGs) back to us.
Results: During an 18-month period, we loaned 46 monitors to 30 men and 17 women. Patient age ranged from 17 years to 80 years, with an average age of 65 years. The time from ECG to diagnosis was 1–4 weeks. Among the 46 patients, 26 (57%) went on to have a procedure, 2 patients had a procedure brought forward and 2 were removed from waiting lists. Overall, 54% borrowed the device between 1 and 3 months, and 75% of patients sent between 1 and 5 ECG readings to our email address. Three monitors went missing within the first 6 months; we then asked patients to complete and sign a slip agreeing to return the monitor within 3 months, listing cost.
Conclusions/implications: The loan library has been an efficient cost-effective way of helping patients self-manage their arrhythmia. It has improved and streamlined diagnosis, in turn saving the NHS time and money. We now receive referrals from electrophysiology consultants and have a waiting list for this service. Implications for the future are that we have applied for funding to purchase a further 25 monitors. ❑