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Keeping patients safe: antipsychotic medication monitoring using a pocket-sized six lead ECG

July 21, 2022

AntipsychoticTees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) have introduced the use of KardiaMobile 6L by AliveCor – the world’s only six-lead personal ECG device that health care professionals use to support patients in the community. This ensures that patients can be remotely monitored without going to a hospital setting, therefore reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission for both parties.

The team at TEWV (Dr M Santhana Krishnan, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry & Senior Clinical Director, and Lauren Bennett, Innovations Coordinator) identified that the six-lead AliveCor device could be used to monitor patients in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their patients include those who are on, or are to be started on, psychiatric medication and need to be carefully monitored for detection of potentially dangerous QT prolongation. A prolonged QTc can lead to a potentially fatal effect, called drug-induced sudden cardiac death (DI-SCD).

Previously, monitoring was ordinarily done by a 12-lead ECG connected to the patient who is required to partially undress, have their skin prepared, and have ten separate leads attached. Staff and patients have found the six-lead device less intrusive, as no clothing needs to be removed and patients can use the device themselves. The whole process lasts five minutes and the ECG can be sent instantly and electronically from the Kardia app to a clinician’s secure NHS email address to measure and report on the QTc immediately.

The team has produced a user guidance document, ‘The Tees Remote ECG Pathway’, and a resource page which can be found at ahsn-nenc.org.uk. Dr Krishnan ran webinars for staff and recorded a step-by-step video guide on how to operate, record and transmit the ECG safely following all the Trust guidelines. With support from NHSX, there are now 100 KardiaMobile 6L devices in use across community teams at TEWV NHS Foundation Trust and 40 in use across inpatient wards at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

The AHSN NENC assisted throughout the project, offering advice and funding to test, roll out and scale up the pathway.

“The AHSN NENC was instrumental in the procurement and roll-out of the AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L device within our Trust. This is an excellent digital solution which has been rapidly deployed at pace and scale, providing our community teams with a device which reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. It is promising to see this has been extended to further Trusts in our region, so that NHS staff and patients can benefit from this unique technology and also the innovative pathway which was developed at TEWV.” 

Dr M Santhana Krishna, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry & Senior Clinical Director, Tees,
Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

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by Lottie Tudor