Portable device improves the detection of atrial fibrillation after ablation

Songqun Huang, Teng Zhao, Chao Liu, Aihong Qin, Shaohua Dong, Binhang Yuan, Wenhui Xing, Zhifu Guo, Xinmiao Huang, Yongmei Cha, Jiang Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Asymptomatic recurrences of atrial fibrillation (AF) have been found to be common after ablation. A randomized controlled trial of AF screening using a handheld single-lead ECG monitor (BigThumb) or a traditional follow-up strategy was conducted in patients with non-valvular AF after catheter ablation. Consecutive patients were randomized to either BigThumb Group (BT Group) or Traditional Follow-up Group (TF Group). The ECGs collected via BigThumb were compared using the automated AF detection algorithm, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, and cardiologists’ manual review. Subsequent changes in adherence to oral anti-coagulation of patients were also recorded. In this study, we examined 218 patients (109 in each group). After a follow-up of 345.4 ± 60.2 days, AF-free survival rate was 64.2% in BT Group and 78.9% in TF Group (P = 0.0163), with more adherence to oral anticoagulation in BT Group (P = 0.0052). The participants in the BT Group recorded 26133 ECGs, among which 3299 (12.6%) were diagnosed as AF by cardiologists’ manual re-view. The sensitivity and specificity of the AI algorithm were 94.4% and 98.5% respectively, which are signifi-cantly higher than the automated AF detection algorithm (90.7% and 96.2%). As per our findings, it was determined that follow-up after AF ablation using BigThumb leads to a more frequent detection of AF recurrence and more adherence to oral anticoagulation. AI algorithm improves the accuracy of ECG diagnosis and has the potential to reduce the manual review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-791
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Heart Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Artificial intelligence algorithm
  • BigThumb
  • Catheter ablation
  • Follow-up strategy
  • Rhythm monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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