Assessing a Patient's Risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest
According to American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and European Society of Cardiology guidelines issued for the Management of Patients with Ventricular Arrhythmias and Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death, it is reasonable to use MTWA testing to improve the diagnosis and risk stratification for those who are at risk of developing life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias (Class IIa, Level of Evidence: A).
MTWA testing is indicated for any patient at risk for lifethreatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias or sudden cardiac arrest, particularly those with heart failure, reduced ejection fraction (heart pumping capacity), prior heart attack, unexplained syncope (loss of consciousness or fainting), or family history of SCA.
Where it Stands
Cambridge Heart’s Analytic Spectral Method is the only Medicare-reimbursable technique for measuring MTWA. Cambridge Heart’s MTWA test is also reimbursed by a growing number of private payers including United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, and several BCBS plans.
In July 2010, Medicare updated its guidelines to allow MTWA to be performed during the same patient visit as a stress procedure (including stress echo and nuclear stress) with full reimbursement for each test. Lifting the previous restriction on same-day testing results in more convenience for patients and a more efficient testing schedule for physician practices.
Cambridge Heart’s HearTwave® II system is a third-generation product for measuring MTWA. The PC-based unit employs the Analytic Spectral Method to measure alternans at the level of 1 microvolt, so small that it is not detectable on a standard ECG. The HearTwave II can be used for standard stress testing as well as MTWA assessment.
Through a partnership with Cardiac Science, the market leader in stress testing equipment, MTWA is now available on the Q-Stress line of cardiac stress testing systems.
For more information about MTWA testing, visit http://info.hotims.com/40433-184.