Author(s): Brunetti ND, De Gennaro L, Amodio G, Dellegrottaglie G, Pellegrino PL,
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Abstract AIM: To assess whether telemedicine technology applied to public emergency healthcare system improves overall quality of home diagnosis in case of acute myocardial infarction among elderly patients, often characterized by higher rates of atypical presentation. METHODS: About 27 841 patients from Apulia (Italy) who called public emergency healthcare number '118' underwent home ECG evaluation. Data were transmitted with a mobile telephone support to a telecardiology 'hub' active continuously (24/7). Data from elderly patients (>70 years) were compared with younger ones. RESULTS: Thirty-nine percent of patients complained of chest (or epigastric) pain; ST elevation acute myocardial infarction (STEMI) was diagnosed in 1.9\% of patients enrolled; 50.2\% of patients with STEMI were above 70 years of age. Among STEMI patients older than 70 years, atypical presentation was detected in 32\% [95\% confidence interval (CI): 26.8-38.1] of patients (vs. 11\% 95\% CI: 7.8-15.5, P<0.001). Rate of atypical STEMI presentation, immediately diagnosed, thanks to telecardiology, rose up from 9.2\% (95\% CI: 5-17\%) in the class of age 60-69 years to 25.6\% (95\% CI: 20-35\%) in the class of age 70-79 years, to 35.2\% (95\% CI: 26-45\%) in the class 80-89, and to 46.1\% (95\% CI: 26-67\%) in the class greater than 89 years of age (P<0.01 in all cases). Number needed to treat (to avoid a single missed STEMI diagnosis) was 9.4 (95\% CI: 6.4-12.9) for patients younger than 70 years versus 3.1 (95\% CI: 2.6-3.7) among those older than 70 years (P<0.001). CONCLUSION: Telecardiology home ECG diagnosis could significantly help in avoiding errors and delay in STEMI diagnosis in elderly patients.
This article was published in Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology