Establishment of a Digital Tele-Electrocardiographic System in southern Brazil [Abstract in English]

Adolfo L. F. Sparenberg, Thais Russomano, Dario F. G. de Azevedo, Eleonora R. Soares, Tatiane R. Schaun

Abstract


Introduction: A lack of medical specialists in remote
areas can delay the diagnosis and the management of
diseases. A pioneer Tele-ECG Digital System, DES, was
established in Brazil to overcome this situation.

Method: DES allows electronic data transmission to
and interpretation by a remote cardiologist. Hospitals in
Sao Lourenco do Sul, and an outpatient unit in Turucu,
both in RS state employed the DES, which includes a
digital ECG machine, standard computers, a modem
connection, internet facilities, telecommunication software
and fixed or mobile phones.

Results: A total of 1063 tele-ECGs were performed in
the three locations in 1 year: 622 via online and 441 via ehealth.
The transmission time was 8.1 min for the online
and up to 24h and e-health tele-ECGs. The results showed
that 71.2% (443 out of 622) of the online tele-ECGs
presented important ECGs alterations, including 66
(14.9%) ECGs with acute signs of myocardial ischemia and
39 ECGs (8.8%) with S-T elevation myocardial infarction.

Conclusion: The low cost of DES make it appropriate
for small cities and rural areas of developing countries. DES
has promoted a significant improvement in the acute
management of patients in remote areas, with a consequent
decrease in the morbidity and mortality rates from
cardiovascular diseases.

KEY WORDS: TELEMEDICINE; ELECTROCARDIOGRAPHY;
HEART DISEASES/diagnosis; TELECOMMUNICATIONS;
INTERNET; EMERGENCIES.



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