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Eur Heart J. 2018 Apr 21;39(16):1394-1403. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehx762.

Telemonitoring-based feedback improves adherence to non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants intake in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Author information

Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium.
Heart Center Hasselt, Jessa Hospital, Stadsomvaart 11, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium.
Department of Cardiology University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium.



To evaluate the effect of telemonitoring on adherence to non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients.

Methods and results:

A randomized, single-blind, crossover, controlled trial in 48 AF patients on once or twice daily (OD or BID) NOAC. The Medication Event Monitoring System tracked NOAC intake during three phases of 3 months each: daily telemonitoring, telemonitoring with immediate telephone feedback in case of intake errors, and an observation phase without daily transmissions. Unprotected days were defined as ≥ 3 or ≥ 1 consecutively missed doses for a BID or OD NOAC, respectively, or excess dose intake. Cost-effectiveness was calculated based on anticipated stroke reduction derived from patients' risk profile and measured intake. Persistence over the entire study was 98%. Telemonitoring-only already led to very high taking and regimen adherence (97.4% respectively 93.8%). Nevertheless, direct feedback further improved both to 99.0% and 96.8%, respectively (P < 0.001 respectively P = 0.002). Observation without daily monitoring resulted in a significant waning of taking adherence (94.3%; P = 0.049). Taking adherence was significantly higher for OD compared to BID NOAC, although unprotected days were similar. Feedback intervention had an incremental cost of €344 289 to prevent one stroke, but this could be as low as €15 488 in high-risk patients with low adherence and optimized technology.


Telemonitoring resulted in high NOAC adherence due to the notion of being watched, as evidenced by the rapid decline during the observation period. Feedback further optimized adherence. Telemonitoring with or without feedback may be a cost-effective approach in high-risk patients deemed poorly adherent.


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