Multi-centre Randomised Controlled Trial of a Smartphone-based Event Recorder Alongside Standard Care Versus Standard Care for Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Palpitations and Pre-syncope: The IPED (Investigation of Palpitations in the ED) study
Background: Patients with palpitations and pre-syncope commonly present to Emergency Departments (EDs) but underlying rhythm diagnosis is often not possible during the initial presentation. This trial compares the symptomatic rhythm detection rate of a smartphone-based event recorder (AliveCor) alongside standard care versus standard care alone, for participants presenting to the ED with palpitations and pre-syncope with no obvious cause evident at initial consultation. Methods: Multi-centre open label, randomised controlled trial. Participants ≥ 16 years old presenting to 10 UK hospital EDs were included. Participants were randomised to either (a) intervention group; standard care plus the use of a smartphone-based event recorder or (b) control group; standard care alone. Primary endpoint was symptomatic rhythm detection rate at 90 days. Trial registration number NCT02783898 (ClinicalTrials.gov). Findings: Two hundred forty-three participants were recruited over an 18-month period. A symptomatic rhythm was detected at 90 days in 69 (n = 124; 55.6%; 95% CI 46.9-64.4%) participants in the intervention group versus 11 (n = 116; 9.5%; 95% CI 4.2-14.8) in the control group (RR 5.9, 95% CI 3.3-10.5; p < 0.0001). Mean time to symptomatic rhythm detection in the intervention group was 9.5 days (SD 16.1, range 0-83) versus 42.9 days (SD 16.0, range 12-66; p < 0.0001) in the control group. The commonest symptomatic rhythms detected were sinus rhythm, sinus tachycardia and ectopic beats. A symptomatic cardiac arrhythmia was detected at 90 days in 11 (n = 124; 8.9%; 95% CI 3.9-13.9%) participants in the intervention group versus 1 (n = 116; 0.9%; 95% CI 0.0-2.5%) in the control group (RR 10.3, 95% CI 1.3-78.5; p = 0.006). Interpretation: Use of a smartphone-based event recorder increased the number of patients in whom an ECG was captured during symptoms over five-fold to more than 55% at 90 days. This safe, non-invasive and easy to use device should be considered part of on-going care to all patients presenting acutely with unexplained palpitations or pre-syncope.