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Study Underscores Need for Long-Term Monitoring in AF


Data shows patients don't always know they are having AF symptoms, bolstering need for continuous monitoring.

Medtronic announced late-breaking clinical data from the STROKE AF clinical study, which showed large and small vessel disease stroke patients had a 10-fold increase in atrial fibrillation (AF) detection with its Reveal LINQ™ insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) at three years compared to patients randomized to standard of care who did not receive continuous, long-term monitoring.

"What these data show us is that we can't always rely on patients to tell us they are having palpitations or irregular heartbeats because the majority of AF detected in the study was asymptomatic," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chief digital advisor, Mass General Brigham, C. Miller Fisher endowed chair in vascular neurology and professor of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "Importantly, these outcomes underscore the criticality of long-term monitoring with ICMs in these patients as much of the AF detected would have been missed at 30 days."

While the STROKE AF study was not designed to detect or explain treatment differences, only 70% of patients with AF detected in the ICM arm were subsequently started on anticoagulation therapy—medication that helps prevent blood clots. The STROKE AF study is a prospective, randomized study of 496 large and small vessel stroke patients across 33 centers in the U.S. The Reveal LINQ ICM was cleared in the U.S. in 2014 and is available worldwide.

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