Where prolonged heart rhythm tracking is concerned, the ZIO Patch outperforms the Holter monitor, making it a preferred option for diagnosing cardiac arrhythmia.

The Holter monitor, an ECG-type device worn at the waist, has long been the standard option for tracking electrical heart activity among ambulatory patients. But wearers have complained about the inconvenience brought by its bulky size and the multiple wires that need to be attached to the chest. There have also been concerns over the lack of extended monitoring results, as the recorder is often used or tolerated for only 24 hours.  

A Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) study suggests there’s a better technology for the job: the ZIO Patch. Compact and wireless, this FDA-cleared adhesive device is worn for up to two weeks then sent to the manufacturer, iRhythm Technologies of San Francisco, for data analysis and a diagnostic report that is forwarded to the patient’s physician.

In the study, 146 patients referred for ambulatory ECG recording were fitted with both a 24-hour Holter monitor and a 14-day ZIO Patch. Researchers compared the arrhythmia events that the two devices detected over their total wear time.

Data from the devices revealed that ZIO Patch detected more events (96) than the Holter monitor (61). Physicians further reported that they were able to reach a more definitive diagnosis based on the ZIO Patch results than the Holter monitor results (90 percent versus 60 percent).

The study participants were also surveyed regarding their device preference. Eight-one percent chose the ZIO patch over the Holter monitor, with most saying the Holter monitor interfered with their day-to-day activities.

Although they are common, cardiac arrhythmias tend to be transient and sometimes asymptomatic so they often are difficult to diagnosis. The ZIO patch may enable more effective diagnosis, which could ultimately save more lives.