News in brief: Gender impacts AF complication rates; Which smartwatch for ECG diagnosis?; Sanofi Genzyme extend free genetic testing

12 May 2021

Persistent gender difference in AF ablation complications

Women undergoing AF ablations experienced a 25% higher risk of procedural complications compared with males.

A study of 35,211 AF ablations from 2008-2017 in Australia and New Zealand found the rate of procedural complications within 30 days were 6.96% in women compared to 5.41% in men (p=0.001).

Women were older and had higher rates of hypertension and haematological disorders than men but the gender disparity in rates of complications remained significant after adjustment (OR 1.25; p=0.001).

The study found that despite a declining complication rate in both men and women over time, the gender difference persisted.

The authors said the differences appeared to be driven by increased rates of pericardial effusion, pericarditis, vascular injury and bleeding.

European Heart Journal – Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes

Apple watch is second best for ECG diagnosis of AF

A comparison of Smartwatch  single lead ECG systems to detect arrhythmias has found that the KardiaBand system outperforms the Apple Watch (Series 4).

Dr Christopher Ford and colleagues at Eastern Health Melbourne made simultaneous ECG recordings in 125 outpatients with the Apple Watch and  KardiaBand, and also recordings from a standard 12-lead ECG for the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter.

When  compared with assessments by two blinded cardiologists the overall accuracy of automated rhythm interpretation of the Apple Watch was 65.8% compared with 74.4% for the KardiaBand.

The sensitivity and negative predictive value of the Apple Watch for detection of AF and atrial flutter were 19% and 82%, respectively, compared to 89% and 97%, respectively for the Kardiaband.

Greater accuracy was achieved by combining clinician and automated interpretation with each device, according to the results to be presented at the ACC 2021 virtual meeting on 15 May.

Free genetic testing offered for familial cardiomyopathy or arrhythmia

Free genetic testing programs are to be offered to patients suspected of having familial cardiomyopathy or arrhythmia.

Sanofi Genzyme has announced it will support no-charge access to the Detect Cardiomyopathy and Arrhythmia program by Invitae. Testing and genetic counselling will be available for patients whose specialist physicians are working to understand if their clinical symptoms are driven by an underlying genetic cause.

According to Invitae, individuals with clinical symptoms of an inherited arrhythmia or cardiomyopathy may benefit from genetic testing to establish or confirm diagnosis, clarify risks, or inform management.

Sanofi Genzyme already offers no-charge access to diagnostic testing for patients suspected of having Lysosomal Storage Disorders, such as Fabry and Pompe disease, and will now also support testing for Muscular Dystrophy.

“We hope that this initiative to offer no-charge access to more of Invitae’s Detect programs will speed up diagnosis and end the uncertainty leading to better health outcomes for more Australian patients,” a spokesperson for Sanofi Genzyme said.



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