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CLINICAL STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR THE FOLLOW UP OFCARDIAC IMPLANTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES (CIEDs) FORCARDIAC RHYTHM MANAGEMENTFEBRUARY 20201. INTRODUCTIONThis document replaces the previous British Heart Rhythm Society (BHRS)document “Clinical Guidance for the Follow Up of Cardiac Implantable ElectronicDevices (CIEDs) for Cardiac Rhythm Management” published in 2015.It has been co-produced by a group of cardiac clinical scientists/cardiacphysiologists, specialist arrhythmia nurses, cardiac electrophysiologists andcardiologists with a specialist interest in CIED therapy, with experience acrosstertiary, district general hospital and clinical academic settings. The documenthad been approved by the BHRS council in February 2020 and will be reviewedby the BHRS council on a biannual basis. A list of contributors can be found atthe end of the document.The purpose of the document is to facilitate the safe delivery of high quality,evidence based CIED follow-up to all patients and services which may benefit.The document has been updated to reflect changes in practice which haveoccurred over the last 5 years. It has been developed to support services, teamsand individuals involved in CIED follow up. It includes the best available evidenceand expert opinion on current practice with the source material for this evidencelisted in the reference section.This document is not intended to disrupt or disenfranchise existing, successfulCIED follow up services. It should be regarded as a template for developing bestpractice. This document is not intended to replace Trust policies and otherlegislation e.g. data protection and codes of conduct that should be adhered toin addition to the recommendations of this document.It must also be recognised that there is increasingly new device technologyintroduced regularly which may be introduced between guideline review dates.1

2. DEFINITIONSThe following definitions are used within this document. For the purposes of thisdocument, as some Trusts cover multiple sites, a CIED follow up services is takento mean a single hospital site where CIED follow ups are performed rather thanthe Trust as a whole.Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device (CIED)CIEDs encompass a range of devices including single and dual chamberbradycardia devices, implantable loop recorders, atrial lators(ICDs),cardiacresynchronisation (CRT) devices and newer technologies including leadlesspacemakers, subcutaneous ICDs and devices cable of physiological pacing.In Person Evaluation (IPE)Is defined as a face to face device follow up.Remote Monitoring (RM)Is defined as the automated transmission of data based on pre-specifiedalerts related to device functionality and clinical events which provides theability for rapid detection of abnormal device function and/or arrhythmiaevents1.Remote Interrogation (RI)Is defined as routine, scheduled, remote device interrogation planned tomirror an in-office check, planned to save an in person evaluation1,2.CRM Cardiac Clinical ScientistA person registered as a clinical scientist with the health care professionscouncil (HCPC) specialising in cardiac sciences trained in cardiac rhythmmanagement (CRM). Some clinical scientists may be involved in advancedpractice with specialist roles defined by local policies and service need.Typical routes include cardiac sciences scientist training programme (STP)graduates and cardiac physiologists who have achieved STP equivalence.Highly Specialised Cardiac PhysiologistA person qualified as a cardiac physiologist/cardiac healthcare sciencepractitioner with the appropriate academic qualifications and experience(BSc Clinical Physiology, BSc Healthcare Science (cardiac physiology) orMSc Clinical Science (Cardiac Science) or equivalent) with the knowledgeand skills equivalent to Agenda for Change band 7, eligible to register orregistered with the RCCP/AHCS clinical physiology register or withhealthcare science practitioner registration.Cardiac PhysiologistA person qualified as a cardiac physiologist/cardiac healthcare sciencepractitioner with the appropriate academic qualifications and experience(BSc Clinical Physiology, BSc Healthcare Science (cardiac physiology) orequivalent) with the knowledge and skills equivalent to Agenda for Change2

band 5/6, eligible to register or registered with the RCCP/AHCS clinicalphysiology register or with healthcare science practitioner registration.3. CIED FOLLOW UPCardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) have evolved significantly overthe last decade with a wide range of devices available and indicated to treatpatients with symptomatic bradycardia, patients at risk of sudden arrhythmicdeath, and those with worsening heart failure (HF).The challenge in treating patients with CIEDs lies not only in the implantation ofthe device, but more so with the device follow up which is a fundamental stepin the management of patients with CIEDs3 and is a lifelong commitment andrequirement for patient care.CIED follow up is complex. Advancements in technology have seen thedevelopment of multiple programmable features and algorithms and growth ina vast array of stored diagnostic information which combined with an agingpopulation with multiple co-morbidities contribute to this complexity.CIED follow up involves regular technical review of device function includingbattery and lead integrity. In addition, it involves monitoring of patientsymptoms, disease states and management of new and progressively changingconditions. These include but are not limited to management of atrial fibrillation(AF), ventricular arrhythmias and HF.Traditionally device follow up has been performed as an in-person evaluation(IPE) ‘face to face’. Depending on the device type and previous IPE results,follow up frequency may range between 3 months and a year. More recentlyCIEDs with newly embedded technologies have the ability to self-regulate,monitor their own function and communicate this stored information tohealthcare providers. This is achieved with and without the active participationof the patient through technologies such as wireless remote monitoring4 (RM).RM has been described as a new standard of care in the follow up of patientswith CIEDs5. A transatlantic expert consensus was published in 2015 presentingdetailed evidence and recommendations on how this should be delivered4. Trialshave shown there can be many benefits to using RM. These include earlydetection of clinically actionable events6,7, a decrease in the frequency and needfor IPE8 and improved patient satisfaction, quality of life and adherence to followup9,10.Diagnostic data received from RM of CIEDs has also been identified as a usefultool to identify patients with worsening HF. Trials which have used amultiparameter approach to predicting HF events have reported the ability torecognise patients whose condition is worsening several weeks before a HFevent11,12. This potential fits in with the NHS long term plan which recognisesthat ‘the connecting of home-based and wearable monitoring equipment willincreasingly enable the NHS to predict and prevent events that would otherwise3

have led to a hospital admission’ 13. Although at present the evidence and useof this technology to guide intervention with medical therapy has not beenassociated with improved clinical outcomes14.In the United Kingdom the majority of device follow up is performed by cardiacclinical scientists, cardiac physiologists/cardiac clinical practitioners and in somecases by specialist nurses. These specialists work mostly autonomously withexpert knowledge and experience to provide CIED follow up services to allpatients implanted with a CIED. These follow up services encompass anapproach to device management and clinical management of patients with acomplex range of conditions.Anecdotally, adoption of RM in practice is varied. There are a range of centresproviding IPE, RM and a combined IPE and RM service. The adoption of RMmodels has often been driven through necessity due to increasing work demand,staffing pressures and limited resources.Regardless of the method adopted, the increasing complexity to CIED follow upcombined with the ability to alter a patient’s therapy or “prescription” byreprogramming a device means that standards that provide for this to be donesafely and effectively are essential. Inappropriate or incorrect use of devicefeatures, failure to recognise symptoms and worsening conditions or other errorswith aspects of device programming may result in serious harm to the patient.It is therefore essential that standardised procedures are carried out byappropriately qualified personnel and there are appropriate levels of training andstandards in place to ensure clinical governance with clearly established lines ofclinical responsibility for all follow-up services.Although CIED services are run by clinical scientists/cardiac physiologists, devicefollow-up remains the ultimate responsibility of the clinician in charge. For mostservices at present this tends to be an appointed cardiologist (consultantphysician with specialist interest) but in the future may fall under theresponsibility of a consultant clinical scientist. Irrespectively, the clinicianresponsible for providing such a service must have the required knowledge todo so and it is therefore recommended that the clinician in charge has arecognised CRM device qualification such as BHRS, European Heart RhythmAssociation (EHRA) or International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE)certification.4

4. CIED FOLLOW UP CLINIC OBJECTIVESPut simply, the objective of CIED follow up, in line with the BHRSmission is:“To improve and extend the lives of people with CIED therapy”All the activities of a device follow-up service should align with this objective,and a wide range of activities may contribute to achieving it; includingpersonalised evidence-based programming, vigilance in identifying andaddressing complications and system failures, responsive remote monitoring anddisease surveillance, appropriate and timely referral to other specialities andservices, provision of education, counselling and support services.4.1 CIED follow up clinic objectivesa. To identify any abnormalities in the implanted CIED system andcomplications of the therapy in order to ensure prompt treatment. Thisincludes utilising device diagnostics to trouble shoot arrhythmias andabnormalities in the CIED systemb. To recognise new onset AF and be aware of risk scoring (e.g. CHA2DS2VASc scoring) to assess the risk of thrombo-embolism to patients andrefer, as per local protocol, for further management which may includeconsideration of anti-coagulation, ablation or cardioversion.c. To assess battery status to predict end-of-life of the pulse generator inorder to permit timely elective generator replacementd. To ensure that safe and accurate measurements are made of deviceand lead function and that accurate records of each visit are kept. Staffleading the clinic must be able to recognise problems and complicationsand make the appropriate changes or recommendations.e. To identify patients who may be suitable and benefit from an upgradeto CRT or ICD in addition to those who may benefit from downgradingof a system e.g. CRT-D to CRT-P.f. To enable modifications to CIED parameters in line with therequirements of each individual patient.g. To maximise clinical safety and efficiency in line with clinicalgovernance requirements.5

h. To recognise pacemaker syndrome and minimise unnecessary rightventricular (RV) pacing where appropriate in order to reduce the risk ofdeveloping pacing induced heart failure.i. To regularly review patients in line with local, manufacturer andnational guidelines.j. To implement relevant advisories from device manufacturers and theMedicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)guidelines and advice and notify the MHRA and manufacturer of anyproblems arising with devices or leads.k. To be able to identify relevant clinical problems and refer patients forimmediate or deferred medical care appropriately in line with localpolicy.l. To provide accurate and complete communication about patient-deviceinteraction and appropriate functionality to GPs and other relevanthealth professionals.m. To optimise the system to provide delivery of optimal therapy for theindividual patient needs whilst maximising generator life. Safety commendations should also be taken into account.n. To identify any abnormalities in ICD/CRT systems and anycomplications of the therapy in order to ensure prompt treatment.o. To assess arrhythmia burden and refer patient’s where appropriate forfurther management such as medication or ventricular tachycardia (VT)ablation. There should be a protocol in place for this.p. To ensure that ICD therapy zones are appropriately programmed tominimise the risk of inappropriate therapy being delivered and toensure that effective and appropriate therapy is provided usingevidence-based strategies and programming guidelines (see section7.2)q. To assess and maximise left ventricular (LV) pacing (biventricular or LVfusion) in CRT devices in order to maintain effective resynchronisationand to be able to provide optimisation of the device.r. To recognise signs of worsening HF and follow a local protocol forreferral of patients for HF assessment.s. To provide patient and family support and education together with anyother healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s management.6

t. To offer appropriate patients RM where this would enhance theeffectiveness of follow-up and ensure patients are trained to set up anduse RM transmitters.u. To monitor the device implant site and watch for any evidence ofinfection and educate patients about the signs of wound problems.4.2 Physiological pacing (His bundle /Left bundle branch pacing)follow up clinicsPatients with left bundle branch (LB