St Jude Medical has announced the results from the Assert cohort study, designed to determine whether the detection of arrhythmias using pacemaker-based diagnostics predicts an increased risk of stroke in elderly, hypertensive patients without any history of atrial fibrillation (AF).

The Assert study, or ASymptomatic AF and Stroke Evaluation in Pacemaker Patients and the AF Reduction Atrial Pacing trial, included 2,580 pacemaker and ICD patients over the age of 65 with hypertension and no history of AF.

The trial is sponsored by St Jude Medical and was conducted by the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton, Canada.

The company claims that their implantable devices allow physicians and patients to be notified whenever a patient experiences significant atrial arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) in the heart’s upper chambers, such as AT or AF.

Principal investigator for the arrhythmias program at the Population Health Research Institute Jeff S Healey said this monitoring technology is a built-in diagnostic tool and a huge value-add to further assist physicians in properly treating their patients.

Prior study results reported that pacemaker patients who have no history of atrial tachycardia (AT) or AF, but do have device-detected arrhythmias, are approximately 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke than patients who do not have device-detected arrhythmias.