Vol 78, No 7-8 (2020)
Original article
Published online: 2020-05-27

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Telephone follow-up of patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: early results

Diana Paskudzka, Agnieszka Kołodzińska, Andrzej Cacko, Przemysław Stolarz, Łukasz Łyżwiński, Grzegorz Opolski, Marcin Grabowski
Pubmed: 32469189
Kardiol Pol 2020;78(7-8):725-731.

Abstract

Background: In the midst of the SARS‑CoV‑2 pandemic, basic healthcare challenges arise as lockdowns and social isolation are implemented to prevent the spread of the virus. In order to overcome these challenges, the Polish National Health Fund has facilitated telemedical consultations.

Aims: The aim of this study was to compare teleconsultations with regular visits at ambulatory clinic of implantable devices and to assess whether teleconsultations would be an adequate replacement during times of limited face‑to‑face contact.

Methods: Teleconsultations in the clinic were introduced for patients without the possibility of remote control of cardiac implantable electronic devices. Prior to planned visits, physicians phoned patients and interviewed them about their health. Further treatment decisions were made based on the interview and available medical records.

Results: Teleconsultations were carried out over 3.5 weeks (March 13 to April 1, 2020). Out of 400 patients who had visits planned at the clinic, 349 were consulted by phone. A total of 299 patients confirmed stable health status, 14 reported some symptoms, and 4 were hospitalized; 2 patients changed their primary clinic and were no longer under our care, 1 was undergoing quarantine, 15 required additional intervention, and 15 had died prior to contact. In general, patients gave positive feedback on their teleconsultations.

Conclusions: Teleconsultations are a much‑needed option during the SARS‑CoV‑2 pandemic. They are an effective way to decrease interpersonal contact and to overcome sudden changes to the ambulatory visit plan, which may otherwise put an overwhelming burden on the clinic.

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Polish Heart Journal (Kardiologia Polska)