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Please cite this article as: El Jamal N, Abi-Saleh B, Isma’eel H. Advances in telemedicine for the management of the elderly cardiac patient. J Geriatr Cardiol 2021; 18(9): E1−E9. DOI: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2021.09.004
Citation: Please cite this article as: El Jamal N, Abi-Saleh B, Isma’eel H. Advances in telemedicine for the management of the elderly cardiac patient. J Geriatr Cardiol 2021; 18(9): E1−E9. DOI: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2021.09.004

Advances in telemedicine for the management of the elderly cardiac patient

doi: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2021.09.004
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  • Telemedicine is the use of information and communication technology to deliver healthcare at a distance. It has been resorted to during the COVID-19 pandemic to lessen the need for in-person patient care decreasing the risk of transmission, and it can be of benefit afterward in the management of cardiac disease. The elderly population has unique challenges concerning the use of telehealth technologies. We thus review the advances in telemedicine technologies in treating elderly cardiac patients including in our discussion only studies with a mean age of participants above 60. Remote monitoring of blood pressure, weight, and symptoms, along with home ECG recording has been found to be superior to usual in-clinic follow up. Combining remote monitoring with video conferencing with physicians, patient education websites, and applications is also of benefit. Remote monitoring of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD) and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillators (CRT-D) is also beneficial but can be at the cost of an increase in both appropriate and inappropriate interventions. Implantable sensing devices compatible with remote monitoring have been developed and have been shown to improve care and cost-effectiveness. New smartphone software can detect arrhythmias using home ECG recordings and can detect atrial fibrillation using smartphone cameras. Remote monitoring of implanted pacemakers has shown non-inferiority to in clinic follow up. On the other hand, small-scale questionnaire-based studies demonstrated the willingness of the elderly cardiac patients to use such technologies, and their satisfaction with their use and ease of use. Large-scale studies should further investigate useability in samples more representative of the general elderly population with more diverse socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. Accordingly, it seems that studying integrating multiple technologies into telehealth programs is of great value. Further efforts should also be put in validating the technologies for specific diseases along with the legal and reimbursement aspects of the use of telehealth.
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