Effective initial identification of potential cardiac arrhythmias in symptomatic children is difficult due to the infrequency, brief duration, and vague nature of subjective complaints in the young. Although both telephone event and Holter monitoring are used for this purpose, no comparative studies of the initial screening efficacy of either have been performed. A total of 202 consecutive symptomatic children (age 11 days to 26 years, mean 10.2 years) were evaluated for potential cardiac arrhythmias with either 24-h Holter (97 patients) or telephone event (105 patients) recorders and grouped according to the presence or absence of congenital heart defects, normal or abnormal resting electrocardiogram (ECG), and presence or absence of cardiac surgery. The results showed 30% of all recordings (61% event; 14% Holter) failed to substantiate any arrhythmias in spite of subjective symptoms. Event recordings showed a better correlation of sensed symptoms with arrhythmias (32%) compared to Holters (5%) (p<0.01) with 73% of Holter recordings performed during both asymptomatic and arrhythmia-free 24-h periods. Holter monitoring was more effective in detecting nonsensed and asymptomatic events (8% versus 0.5%, (p<0.01), among high-risk children. This study demonstrates that although both monitoring devices are applicable to children, each has inherent limitations and usefulness. These must be considered in choosing either device to permit their most optimal and cost-effective application.
- Event recorder
- Pediatric arrhythmias