6 Recommendations for further research
6.1 The committee recommended further research to determine if using the lead‑I electrocardiogram (ECG) devices in primary care for people with signs or symptoms of atrial fibrillation, and an irregular pulse, increases the number of people with atrial fibrillation (including paroxysmal) detected, compared with current practice (that is, a 12‑lead ECG done later). The committee considered the feasibility of collecting data to see if using the lead‑I ECG devices increased the detection of atrial fibrillation that would be missed if only 12‑lead ECGs done later were available. It noted that even if a lead‑I ECG is used and atrial fibrillation is detected, a subsequent 12‑lead ECG would still be done to check for structural cardiac abnormalities and inform further management decisions. The committee concluded that practices using lead‑I ECG devices could determine the number of additional cases of atrial fibrillation detected by the devices. This can be done by identifying people with a confirmed positive lead‑I ECG for atrial fibrillation who subsequently had a 12‑lead ECG that was negative because the atrial fibrillation had stopped. The committee also considered that data collected on the time between the initial lead‑I ECG and the subsequent 12‑lead ECG would be useful.
6.2 The committee recommended that data should be collected to evaluate the system impact of adopting the lead‑I ECGs on both primary and secondary care. In particular, data should be collected on how ECGs generated by the devices would be interpreted in practice, including staff time needed to interpret the ECG traces and associated costs.