Nurse led smartphone electrographic monitoring for atrial fibrillation after ischemic stroke: SPOT-AF

Bernard Yan, Hans Tu, Christina Lam, Corey Swift, Ma Sze Ho, Vincent C.T. Mok, Yi Sui, David Sharpe, Darshan Ghia, Jim Jannes, Stephen Davis, Xinfeng Liu, Ben Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) underlying acute stroke frequently evades detection by standard practice, considered to be a combination of routine electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring, and 24-hour Holter recordings. We hypothesized that nurse-led in-hospital intermittent monitoring approach would increase PAF detection rate. Methods We recruited patients hospitalised for stroke/transient ischemic attack, without history of atrial fibrillation (AF), in a prospective multi-centre observational study. Patients were monitored using a smartphone-enabled handheld ECG (iECG) during routine nursing observations, and underwent 24-hour Holter monitoring according to local practice. The primary outcome was comparison of AF detection by nurse-led iECG versus Holter monitoring in patients who received both tests: secondary outcome was oral anticoagulant commencement at 3-month following PAF detection. Results One thousand and seventy-nine patients underwent iECG monitoring: 294 had iECG and Holter monitoring. AF was detected in 25/294 (8.5%) by iECG, and 8/294 (2.8%) by 24-hour Holter recordings (P<0.001). Median duration from stroke onset to AF detection for iECG was 3 days (interquartile range [IQR], 2 to 6) compared with 7 days (IQR, 6 to 10) for Holter recordings (P=0.02). Of 25 patients with AF detected by iECG, 11 were commenced on oral anticoagulant, compared to 5/8 for Holter. AF was detected in 8.8% (69/785 patients) who underwent iECG recordings only (P=0.8 vs. those who had both iECG and 24-hour Holter). Conclusions Nurse-led in-hospital iECG surveillance after stroke is feasible and effective and detects more PAF earlier and more frequently than routine 24-hour Holter recordings. Screening with iECG could be incorporated into routine post-stroke nursing observations to increase diagnosis of PAF, and facilitate institution of guideline-recommended anticoagulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-395
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Stroke
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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