A new study may help to better understand how the COVID-19 virus affects people with heart conditions or chronic illnesses and improve their health care.
In collaboration with Boston Scientific, a research team from Yale New Haven Hospital’s Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE) hopes to accomplish this by studying data from pacemakers and defibrillators remotely monitored by the LATITUDE™ Home Monitoring System in patients with COVID-19. The Boston Scientific devices in the study offer some of the most advanced heart rhythm management technologies available.
The LATITUDE system is an in-home device that provides physicians automatic, daily monitoring of cardiac devices implanted in patients. The system improves quality of care through earlier detection and treatment of heart problems; also, by reducing the need for in-office visits, it enhances patient convenience and safety and increases clinical efficiency.
The study was inspired by reports from the physicians that with the onset of COVID-19 some sensor data seen in the LATITUDE system changed in patients. By studying continuous sensor data from the implanted devices in patients before, during and after a COVID-19 infection, researchers hope to detect and anticipate which patients will need critical resources, such as intensive care.
“We know that patients with heart disease are at a much higher risk of developing more serious complications associated with COVID-19,” said Ken Stein, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer for Rhythm Management and Global Health Policy at Boston Scientific.
“Enabling better identification of the early onset of COVID-19 in this patient population and differentiating COVID-related symptoms from worsening cardiac disease may help reduce the burden on health care systems while improving outcomes for at-risk patients.”
The study, which is being led by Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM and Yuan Lu, ScD from the Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital’s CORE lab, was designed by the CORE lab in collaboration with Boston Scientific and will combine patient test results, symptoms and other information about their COVID-19 experience with monitoring data from their implanted device.
Physicians can direct their patients who are interested in participating to a website that includes eligibility criteria and basic information about the study. The study is open to anyone who has ever tested positive for COVID-19 and has a pacemaker or defibrillator remotely monitored by the LATITUDE™ system.
Patients can enroll in the trial by completing a short questionnaire about their COVID-19 symptoms and testing and general health information, which is securely protected using data encryption and access restrictions.
Ultimately, researchers hope to help healthcare professionals better remotely manage cardiac patients—especially those with multiple chronic conditions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic—improve outcomes among at-risk patients and reduce the overall burden on the health system.