Vol 79, No 2 (2021)
Original article
Published online: 2020-12-02

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Usefulness of long-term telemetric electrocardiogram monitoring in the diagnosis of tachycardia in children with a medical history of palpitations

Katarzyna Bieganowska, Maria Miszczak-Knecht, Monika Brzezińska, Maria Posadowska, Katarzyna Pręgowska, Agnieszka Kaszuba, Ilona Kowalik, Maciej Bieganowski, Łukasz Szumowski
Pubmed: 33293494
Kardiol Pol 2021;79(2):129-138.

Abstract

Background: In children, palpitations, which may result from a life‑threatening tachyarrhythmia, are one of the most common causes of cardiac visits and hospitalizations. Effective diagnosis is essential in this population of patients.

Aims: This study aimed to assess the usefulness of long‑term telemetric electrocardiograms compared with Holter monitoring in the diagnostic workup in children with palpitations.

Methods: A total of 350 children with undocumented palpitations were examined in a multicenter study. In 167 patients (47.7%), the TELE group, month‑long continuous telemetric electrocardiogram monitoring (using the PocketECG system) was performed. In 183 patients (52.3%), the HOLT group, 24‑hour Holter electrocardiography was carried out and repeated after a month if tachyarrhythmia was not recorded.

Results: A total of 152 children (43.4%) reported palpitations, and 36.2% of them had sinus tachycardia during palpitations. Tachyarrhythmias were recorded in 68 patients (40.7%) in the TELE group and in 7 (3.8%) in the HOLT group after the second examination (P  < 0.001); the mean time to record tachycardia was 15.8 (8.7) days versus 25.4 (11.1) days (P = 0.004). In the TELE group, we noted a greater number of children with palpitations during recording (62.9% vs 18%), tachycardia with normal QRS complexes (21.6% vs 1.6%), ventricular tachycardia (11.4% vs 0.5%), and asymptomatic arrhythmias than in the HOLT group.

Conclusions: In children, long‑term telemetric electrocardiogram monitoring using the PocketECG system is well tolerated and has a high diagnostic efficacy. In young patients with palpitations, telemetric cardiac monitoring lasting up to a month increased the number of patients with recorded tachyarrhythmia by almost 10-fold compared with the analysis of 2 Holter electrocardiograms. We found that a large number of children have asymptomatic cardiac arrhythmias.

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