Cardiovascular telemetry offers medics the opportunity to monitor cardiac activity with minimal interference to the subject’s normal day. Cardiac telemetry uses a small transmitting device attached to a test subject to transfer data to a receiver elsewhere. The subject has freedom of movement within a transmitting range whilst continuing to report information on vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Specially trained professionals monitor the reporting and can respond to any changes that signal problems.
However, there is also a further use of cardiovascular telemetry within the early assessment of the effects of drug molecules on the cardiovascular system using rat telemetry.
How is cardiovascular telemetry used in humans?
Doctors use cardiac telemetry to monitor:
- Chest pain where an unstable heart rhythm is identified
- Arrhythmias and abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation
- Monitoring before or after heart surgery
- To coordinate with heart procedures intended to correct abnormal heart rhythms such as cardioversion
Cardiac telemetry in drug development
Cardiac telemetry has benefits for drug testing requiring the use of animals. It offers a minimally invasive means to test the effects of drug molecules on the cardiovascular system of the test animal without disturbing them and human intervention. A cardiovascular telemetry device is inserted into the animals to monitor the effects of the drug delivered without further need for human intervention to assess reactivity.
Animal testing forms an essential part of ensuring drugs intended for human use are safe. Telemetry devices enable testing results to be obtained without undue stress to the animal and enhance the care of the test animal.
Implantable telemetric devices such as those offered by the highly trained team of scientists at Vivonics as part of their contract research organisation facilities assess the effects of potential new medicines on human vital organs using animals. Rat telemetry enables animals used in testing to live better lives.
An implantable device enables scientists to remotely review simultaneously recorded multiple vascular parameters in freely moving conscious groups of animals. Standard cardiovascular variables such as heart rate, arterial blood pressure, ECG and QA interval biomarkers for cardiac contractility are monitored without removing the animal from the social setting. Body temperature and locomotor activity can be observed without stress on the animal, resulting in more reliable test results.
The UK Government laws surrounding the essential use of animals in testing have rightly tightened within the Code of practice for the housing and care of animals bred, supplied or used for scientific purposes requiring research laboratories to specifically meet the social environments necessary for animals to be happy, including group-housing for social animal species such as rats.
Group housing of animals has been somewhat impractical and invasive until the development of telemetry devices, given the amount of monitoring required. However, this minimally invasive technology allows the tracking of individual animals within groups without human intervention.
More accurate test outcomes
Human intervention to measure results puts animals under additional stress when continuously removed from their home environment, which can lead to test results being skewed by adrenaline or other factors. The ability to receive results remotely reduces interruption to the animals’ routine. It removes the need for isolation, enabling accurate results to be achieved whilst the animal remains in a group housing environment.
The cardiovascular telemetry device working alongside behavioural observations gives an early indication of the effect the molecules have on the central nervous system through simultaneous study. The devices show minimally detectable differences using various group sizes, with key performance parameters allowing for drug-induced changes within defined acceptable levels. A standard study will use blood capillary microsampling of drug plasma/blood concentration to allow for PD/PD data modelling and safety margin calculations.