Background: Impedance-based remote monitoring (RM) failed to reduce clinical events in the OptiLink heart failure (HF) trial. However, rates of alert-driven interventions triggered by intrathoracic fluid index threshold crossings (FTC) were low indicating physicians' inappropriate reactions to alerts.
Methods / Measures: We separated appropriate from inappropriate contacts to FTC transmissions in the OptiLink HF trial (Optimization of Heart Failure Management Using OptiVol™ Fluid Status Monitoring and CareLink™). Appropriate contacts had to meet the following criteria: (1) initial telephone contact within 2 working days after FTC transmission, (2) follow-up contacts according to study protocol, and (3) medical intervention initiated after FTC due to cardiac decompensation. We compared time to cardiovascular death or HF hospitalization between RM patients contacted appropriately or inappropriately and patients with usual care.
Results: In the RM group, at least one FTC alert was transmitted in 356 patients (70.5%; n=505). Of note, only 55.5% (n=758) of all transmitted FTCs (n=1365) were followed by an appropriate contact. While 113 patients (31.7%; n=356) have been contacted appropriately after every FTC, in 243 patients (68.3%; n=356) at least one FTC was not responded by an appropriate contact. Compared with usual care, RM with appropriate contacts to FTC alerts independently reduced the risk of the primary end point (hazard ratio, 0.61 [95% CI, 0.39-0.95]; P=0.027).
Conclusions: RM appropriate reactions to FTC alerts are associated with significantly improved clinical outcomes in patients with advanced HF and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.