Newswise — EDISON, NJ – October 5, 2021... The Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Research at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, an expert in heart rhythm abnormalities and the heart’s electrical system, presented new data about the heart and COVID-19 and other key topics at the Heart Rhythm Society 2021 Annual Scientific Sessions held in Boston, MA, July 26-30.
New Data about the Heart and COVID-19
Taya V. Glotzer, M.D., FACC, FHRS, Professor of Medicine, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and director of Cardiac Research, Hackensack University Medical Center, presented the findings of “Admission Electrocardiogram (EKG) Abnormalities Associated with Mortality in Patients with COVID-19,” research that she conducted with a group of cardiologists at Hackensack University Medical Center. The study showed that there are signals on admission EKGs that might predict which patients admitted with COVID-19 would have poor outcomes.
“There is increasing awareness of the effect of COVID-19 on cardiovascular function,” said Dr. Glotzer. “The objective of this research was to determine which, if any, parameters of the baseline EKGs of patients admitted for treatment of COVID-19 are associated with development of cardiac shock or mortality.”
Four EKG parameters were found to signal possible poor outcomes: the presence of atrial premature beats, any atrial-ventricular block, poor R wave progression (absence of normal increase in size of the R wave), and prolonged QT interval, the section on the EKG that represents the time it takes for the heart’s electrical system to reset. The study also found that mortality was more prevalent in patients with age greater than 60 years, male gender, obesity, and elevated troponin (a protein that is integral to cardiac muscle contraction).
Dr. Glotzer and her team have also published findings on the effects of COVID-19 on blood pressure and cardiac muscle function.
“Dr. Glotzer was invited to present by the Society’s senior leadership,” said Joseph E. Parrillo, M.D., chair, Heart & Vascular Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center. “This is a wonderful indication of her standing as an expert in cardiac electrophysiology.”
“Optimizing Remote Monitoring for Atrial Fibrillation”
As an arrhythmia specialist with an interest in the detection of atrial fibrillation, Dr. Glotzer was invited to present: “Optimizing Remote Monitoring for Atrial Fibrillation” at the Heart Rhythm Society conference in July 2021. In this presentation, she advised cardiologists, nurses, and nurse practitioners how best to manage arrhythmias that are detected by implanted cardiac rhythm devices.
“Cardiac arrhythmias occur when the heart beats irregularly, too fast, or too slowly”, said Dr. Glotzer. “Patients who have cardiac implanted electronic devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators have an advantage because these devices can detect silent arrhythmias before they cause symptoms.”
She explained that utilizing internet connectivity, it is now possible to review individual patients’ heart rhythm status on a daily basis. “This capability, called remote monitoring, has tremendous promise for patient care, with the possibility of reducing strokes, decreasing heart failure, preventing cardiomyopathies, and detecting device malfunctions early. Remote monitoring shortens the time to arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment, provides improved patient satisfaction, and improved quality of life. For the health care system, remote monitoring can lead to fewer emergency room and office visits, less costs to the health care system with fewer and shorter hospital stays, and improved accessibility to the health care system,” she said. “Furthermore, remote monitoring may allow assessment of the efficacy of patient treatment regimens, and the opportunity to modify therapy early in the course of disease before the arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation become a chronic condition.”
As this innovative diagnostic capability is generating large amounts of data, protocols for triage and automated management of this new information are being developed, she explained. In her presentation, Dr. Glotzer discussed optimal remote monitoring techniques for detection of atrial fibrillation.
Cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation, commonly referred to as AFib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. It occurs when the upper chambers of the heart are not contracting properly, resulting in pooling of blood and potentially clot formation; this can lead to increased risk of stroke. Atrial fibrillation was associated with 175,000 deaths in the US in 2018.1 It is estimated that 12.1 million people in the U.S. will have atrial fibrillation by 2030.2
“Treatments for atrial fibrillation include medication, cardiac implanted electronic devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators, and medical procedures such as cardiac ablation, a procedure to remove or terminate faulty electrical pathways from sections of the heart,” Dr. Glotzer commented.
Dr. Glotzer is a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society, and she has been a member of the organization since 1997. She also is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a member of the New Jersey Society for Pacing and Electrophysiology. She completed three fellowships at Bellevue Hospital Center/ New York University Medical Center/ Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: one in cardiology; one in cardiac catheterization and angioplasty, and one in electrophysiology, the study of the heart’s electrical system. She serves as a peer-reviewer for top-tier medical journals and has published extensively in the peer-reviewed medical literature since 1987.
“Dr. Glotzer is an important part of our Heart and Vascular Hospital and in her time here has elevated electrophysiology services for our patients,” said Lisa Tank, M.D., chief medical officer, Hackensack University Medical Center.
The Heart Rhythm Society is a leading resource on arrhythmias, cardiac pacing and electrophysiology. It represents medical, allied health, and science professionals from more than 70 countries who specialize in cardiac rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education, and optimal health care policies and standards and its vision is to end suffering and death due to heart rhythm disorders.
For information about Hackensack Meridian Health’s cardiovascular services, visit https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/services/cardiovascular/.
1US Centers for Disease Control, 2021.
2US Centers for Disease Control, 2021.
ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HACKENSACK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
Hackensack University Medical Center, a 771-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey. Founded in 1888 as Bergen County's first hospital, it was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet®-recognized hospital for nursing excellence. The academic flagship of Hackensack Meridian Health, Hackensack University Medical Center's campus is home to facilities such as John Theurer Cancer Center, the Heart & Vascular Hospital, and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion. Recognized as being in the top 1% of hospitals in the nation and #1 in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-22 "Best Hospitals" Honor Roll, Hackensack University Medical Center also ranked as high-performing in cancer care, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Hackensack University Medical Center’s comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development.