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Invited Commentary
October 2017

What Do Implanted Cardiac Monitors Reveal About Atrial Fibrillation?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Cardiol. 2017;2(10):1128-1129. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.3203

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is not only one of the most common and potent risk factors for stroke, but it is also the risk factor whose treatment can prevent stroke to the greatest extent. It follows that clinicians should be motivated to identify and treat patients with AF.1 In the past, the search for AF relied on manual pulse assessments, electrocardiography, and Holter monitoring. However, we now have implantable cardiac monitors (ICMs) that can continuously monitor patients for several years and detect episodes of asymptomatic AF that are as brief as a few seconds.2 Although the ICM is a very sensitive tool for AF detection, we must recognize that, as with other diseases that are detected via sensitive means (such as prostate cancer), the prognostic and therapeutic implications of AF that is detected this way differ from those of AF that are detected by conventional means.1 Thus, there is an important need to research applying the ICM for AF detection.

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