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Heart and Cardiac Monitoring

There are several reasons doctors order heart monitoring. If your doctor suspects you have a heart condition that requires monitoring, or you are recovering from heart surgery, you may need to wear some sort of heart monitor.

Types of cardiac monitoring

Holter monitor – A Holter monitor is a portable EKG that continuously monitors and records your heart’s activity and may be worn for a day or up to 2 weeks at a time. It is a small recording device that records the electrical activity of your heart for your doctor to review later. The monitor has electrodes that attach to the skin on your chest. The monitor is small enough for you to carry in your pocket or attach to your clothing. Doctors often prescribe Holter monitors when they suspect an arrhythmia, but they are unable to capture that arrhythmia on a standard EKG. The monitor is helpful with diagnosing different arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and supraventricular tachycardia.

A mobile cardiac monitor is worn for up to 30 days to record your heart rhythm.  The results are automatically sent to your physician. Your physician uses this information to evaluate your symptoms and determine what is causing the arrhythmia.

An event monitor is a portable rhythm monitor that is used for patients who have an irregular heart rhythm less frequently. You may wear the monitor at all times and activate it when you feel symptoms, or you may connect to the monitor only during symptoms.  There are popular event recorders that patients can purchase that connect wireless to their smart phones. These devices let your doctor check your heart rhythm at the time of your symptoms.

An implantable loop recorder is injected under the skin and can automatically record abnormal rhythm patterns for a period of 3 years. The Devices transmit the recorded signals to a bedside monitor at night and those recordings are transmitted to your doctor's office. 

Centralized telemetry – Telemetry units are portable monitors that automatically detect arrhythmias then record and transmit them to a centralized unit where someone will be alerted to what is happening. These units are often prescribed to monitor people after a heart attack or heart surgery when abnormal rhythms tend to occur more often than normal. These units can be worn for up to 30 days.

Heart monitoring for condition management

If you are experiencing symptoms, such as unexplained fainting (syncope) or heart palpitations and arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation (a-fib), or you have stroke symptoms or have had a stroke, your doctor may recommend heart monitoring to help manage your condition. A heart monitor can help your doctor understand how often your symptoms are occurring, which can be helpful in determining an effective treatment plan. Heart monitors can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. For example, your doctor may want to see how well your medication is controlling your atrial fibrillation.

Knowing how often your symptoms occur and what, if anything, seems to trigger them is important information for your doctor to have. If, for example, you are experiencing unexplained fainting or dizzy spells, it’s important to know if your heart is causing them or whether they are due to another condition or external factor.

The Beaumont difference

Beaumont is a world leader in innovative heart care. Our heart and vascular teams provide the most advanced treatment options. We have specialized heart care centers throughout Metro Detroit.

Start your search at Beaumont. Find a Beaumont cardiologist near you.