Washington University cardiologists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital have developed a streamlined way for clinicians to monitor the heart rhythms of COVID-19 patients by remote telemetry. Many of the drugs being investigated to treat the novel coronavirus have been associated with dangerous arrhythmias. According to cardiologist Phillip Cuculich, MD, a remote method to monitor heart rhythms could improve care for patients and protect health-care workers from the additional exposure that would result when conducting repeated electrocardiograms (ECGs).
Several of the drugs being given to patients with COVID-19, including chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, are associated with a dangerous cardiac side effect called a long QT interval. When the QT interval becomes too long, it can lead to a life-threatening arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation, which causes