Ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring for syncope and collapse: A comparative assessment of clinical practice in UK and Germany

Richard Sutton, Robin Mears, Ritsuko Kohno, David G Benditt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Aims Diagnostic ambulatory electrocardiogram (AECG) monitoring is widely used for evaluating syncope/collapse. In Europe, two sets of practice guidelines [National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC)] provide recommendations concerning optimal selection of AECG devices. However, whether practising physicians’ select AECGs based on published guidelines is unclear. This study examined AECG use by Emergency Department (EDs) physicians and cardiologists in two European countries: Germany (D) and United Kingdom (UK). Methods and Results A quantitative survey was undertaken in which 177 respondents participated (ED: UK 33, Germany 40; Cardiology: UK 54, Germany 50). The choice of AECG technology varied by specialty. Thus, among EDs, despite patients having daily symptoms, 20% (UK), 31% (D) of respondents chose an AECG other than Holter monitor. Conversely, when monitoring for infrequent events (<monthly), 15–30% (UK and D) indicated choice of 24–48 h Holter, 15–30% (UK and D) a conventional event recorder, and only ~50% select an insertable cardiac monitor (ICM). Among cardiologists, 6% (UK), 10% (D) would not choose a Holter for daily symptoms but, for infrequent symptoms, ~80% would select an ICM (UK and D). However, many cardiologists (UK and D) persist with Holters for infrequent events despite repeated failure of that technology to provide a diagnosis. Conclusions In evaluation of syncope/collapse, most UK and German ED physicians and cardiologists use AECG’s according to guidelines, but a substantial minority diverge from AECG guideline recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2021-2027
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This report comprises findings obtained from a survey undertaken July– December 2015 of EDs and cardiologists in UK and Germany. The survey was conducted by an independent polling agency (ZS Associates, Evanston, IL, USA). Care was taken to avoid identification of specific device manufacturers. The study was sponsored by Medtronic Inc. Minneapolis, MN, USA but sponsor personnel did not participate in recording or interpreting the observations. An honorarium of ~US$100 was paid to respondents.

Publisher Copyright:
Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author(s) 2018.


  • Ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring
  • Collapse
  • Insertable cardiac monitor
  • Syncope


Dive into the research topics of 'Ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring for syncope and collapse: A comparative assessment of clinical practice in UK and Germany'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this