Despite many patients “recovering” from COVID-19, some are experiencing severe after-effects, many of which aren’t yet understood, such as heart damage due to inflammation. Stuart Long, CEO of Infobionic, says remote cardiac monitoring can not only assess the risk but also alleviate the toll on healthcare systems.
As the U.S. closes in on 20 million cases of COVID-19 and the potential for 500,000+ deaths, some patients’ problems are just beginning. Both doctors and patients call them “long-haulers,” those for whom recovery doesn’t come easily, and often experience virus after-effects that can last for years—or permanently. “With cardiovascular injury a long-term effect for COVID-19 survivors, healthcare needs a proven means of telemetry style remote cardiac monitoring that can facilitate faster interventions and improve health outcomes,” said Infobionic CEO Stuart Long.(1)
In the first week of December, COVID-19 became the leading cause of death in the United States, surpassing heart disease and cancer,(2) the former of which will only get worse. Cardiologists, physicians providing emergency room care, and cardiac medicine units are painfully aware that the disease has the potential to cause lasting damage to the heart.
Thankfully, doctors have a better idea about what’s happening. Cardiac treatment isn’t easy in the best of times, when hospitals devote care teams to mitigating the effects of cardiac episodes ranging from basic arrythmias to cardiac fibrillation (Afib) to heart attacks. But, as the curve of COVID-19 infection rises, the potential for dangerous outcomes rises too.(3) It’s clear that the nation’s healthcare system is bursting at the seams. ICU capacity across the United States is being overrun, but less attention is being paid to the virus after-effects, not only on cardiac patients, but also on health providers and health insurance companies.
“It’s simple math. The worse the COVID wave, the more cardiac after-effects our strained healthcare system will have to dealt with,” said Long.
Traditionally, cardiac episodes are addressed via the ER and barrages of tests. In a situation where some hospitals are turning away patients, those interventions add to the strain. As the dominos fall, cardiologists and physicians struggle more, the healthcare system loses manpower to the virus and fatigue, and patients face healthcare decisions that would have been unimaginable before COVID-19.
One solution is remote, 24-hour cardiac monitoring. Before modern advances, cardiac telemetry was complicated at best. Ambulatory cardiac monitors were bulky and sometimes unreliable in delivering actionable data. In contrast, a wearable device such as Infobionic’s MoMe® Kardia cardiac monitoring platform streams the patient’s ECG in near real-time to central monitoring centers, with a modern easy to use device that shortens the distance between patients and physicians, eliminating the need for intermediaries to access care
Consequently, with remote patient monitoring, heart rhythm problems are detected and flagged for treatment much earlier than they were with traditional ambulatory cardiac monitors. This is important in the long run, because COVID-19 is increasingly linked to a risk of problems that include myocardial infarction, myocarditis and heart failure. This problem stretches far beyond the country’s filling ICU beds, as studies reveal that patients who are not hospitalized are subsequently at risk for cardiac injury.
“Desperate times may call for desperate measures, but remote cardiac monitoring provides a win-win solution that doesn’t add to the burdens of the healthcare system. Although the healthcare industry is starting to pay attention, the secret, largely undetected cardiac damage from COVID-19 hasn’t even been quantified yet,” Long said.
“There is recognition that some of those COVID-19 patients not hospitalized are experiencing cardiac injury,” says Dr. Gregg Fonarow, chief of the division of cardiology at UCLA. “This raises concern that there may be individuals who get through the initial infection but are left with cardiovascular damage and complications. RPM then becomes a necessity” (4)
InfoBionic is a digital health company transforming the efficiency and economics of ambulatory remote patient monitoring processes by optimizing clinical and real-world utility for the users that need it most – physicians and their patients. The Massachusetts-based team of seasoned entrepreneurs have had successful careers in healthcare, IT, medical devices and mobile technology, and bring specific expertise in remote monitoring and cardiology. They have seen first-hand the complexities of traditional cardiac arrhythmia detection and monitoring processes and designed the transformative MoMe® Kardia platform to remove the roadblocks hindering faster, more effective diagnosis and decision-making. Frost & Sullivan bestowed the 2019 North American Remote Cardiac Monitoring Technology Leadership Award upon InfoBionic. More information at www.infobionic.com.
- Infobionic. “Telehealth, Remote Patient Monitoring Crucial to Long-Term Cardiac Health Implications of COVID-19” infobionic.com/infobionic-telehealth-remote-patient-monitoring-crucial-to-long-term-cardiac-health-implications-of-covid-19 | Accessed December 2020
- Romero, Dennis; “Covid now leading cause of death in U.S., researchers say”; 05 December 2020; NBC News Live Blog; nbcnews.com/news/us-news/live-blog/2020-12-5-covid-live-updates-vaccine-news-n1250101/ncrd1250091#liveBlogHeader
- Physicians Weekly. “AHA: Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Outcomes Worse During COVID-19” physiciansweekly.com/aha-out-of-hospital-cardiac-arrest-outcomes-worse-during-covid-19/ Accessed December 2020
- American Heart Association. “What COVID-19 is Doing to the Heart, Even After Recovery.” heart.org/en/news/2020/09/03/what-covid-19-is-doing-to-the-heart-even-after-recovery Accessed December 2020