Cardiology

Diagnostic accuracy of handheld electrocardiogram devices in detecting atrial fibrillation in adults in community versus hospital settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis




With increasing use of handheld ECG devices for atrial fibrillation (AF) screening, it is important to understand their accuracy in community and hospital settings and how it differs among settings and other factors. A systematic review of eligible studies from community or hospital settings reporting the diagnostic accuracy of handheld ECG devices (ie, devices producing a rhythm strip) in detecting AF in adults, compared with a gold standard 12-lead ECG or Holter monitor, was performed. Bivariate hierarchical random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression were performed using R V.3.6.0. The search identified 858 articles, of which 14 were included. Six studies recruited from community (n=6064 ECGs) and eight studies from hospital (n=2116 ECGs) settings. The pooled sensitivity was 89% (95% CI 81% to 94%) in the community and 92% (95% CI 83% to 97%) in the hospital. The pooled specificity was 99% (95% CI 98% to 99%) in the community and 95% (95% CI 90% to 98%) in the hospital. Accuracy of ECG devices varied: sensitivity ranged from 54.5% to 100% and specificity ranged from 61.9% to 100%. Meta-regression showed that setting (p=0.032) and ECG device type (p=0.022) significantly contributed to variations in sensitivity and specificity. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of single-lead handheld ECG devices were high. Setting and handheld ECG device type were significant factors of variation in sensitivity and specificity. These findings suggest that the setting including user training and handheld ECG device type should be carefully reviewed.

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