A study conducted by the Scripps Translational Science Institute, San Diego, has found that a small adhesive wireless device worn on the chest for up to two weeks does a better job detecting abnormal and potentially dangerous heart rhythms than the traditional Holter monitor, which is typically used for 24 hours. Holter monitors have been used for more than 50 years.
By tracking every heart beat for up to two weeks, the ZIO proved to be significantly more sensitive than the standard Holter, which uses multiple wires and typically is only used or tolerated for 24 hours. This may prove to be the new standard for capturing heart rhythm electrical disturbance, usually atrial fibrillation, which carries a significant risk of stroke, they reported.
The ZIO Patch is an FDA-approved noninvasive, water-resistant device that is worn for up to two weeks throughout normal activity then mailed by the patient to ifor data analysis with a proprietary algorithm. The Holter monitor, which was first introduced in the 1940s, includes a cell-phone sized recorder typically worn at the waist and five to seven lead wires that attach to the chest.
Over the course of the study, the ZIO Service detected 96 arrhythmia events while the Holter monitor detected 61. The researchers credited the patch’s superior performance primarily to prolonged monitoring.
One unexpected finding was that the Holter monitor detected 11 more arrhythmias than the ZIO Service during the initial 24 hour period when both devices were working simultaneously. However, all of those arrhythmias were picked beyond 24 hours by the patch during the device’s extended monitoring period. The ZIO Service detected two arrhythmias not captured by the Holter during the initial 24 hour period.