A cardiac event monitor is a device that is worn by those with heart problems or who need to be monitored for potential heart issues. This beneficial device is placed directly on the skin and records any abnormal heart activity that may occur, which can then be looked at by a doctor. The doctor can determine the best course of action if any issues are found. While it may seem scary to wear such a device, it can provide peace of mind and help keep you healthy.
Please speak with your doctor today if you need a cardiac event monitor or want more information.
What is an event monitor?
Like an electrocardiogram (ECG), a cardiac event monitor records the heart’s electrical activity; however, the event monitor records for much longer than an in-office ECG, which only collects data for a few seconds. An event monitor is similar to a Holter monitor in that they are both portable monitoring devices and come in a few variations. With both types, a doctor will review the data from the monitor after the required period has passed.
One main difference between a Holter and an event monitor is that the event monitor does not continuously record. Either the patient activates it when feeling symptoms so the device will record, or the monitor activates automatically when it senses an arrhythmia. Another primary difference between the two is that a cardiac event monitor is generally worn for a more extended time as opposed to the 24 to 48-hour requirement of a Holter monitor.
Four main cardiac event monitors are available, each with special instructions and length of use.
- Loop memory monitor: The electrodes remain attached to your chest and the monitor constantly records, but does not save your ECG. When you feel symptoms, you press a button to activate the device. The device will then save the ECG from shortly before, during, and for a time after your symptoms begin.
- Symptom event monitor: This device records your ECG only when symptoms occur, not before they occur. You carry this device in a pocket or wear it on your wrist. When you feel symptoms, you turn on the device and place the electrodes on your chest to record the ECG.
- Patch recorders: This monitor does not use wires or electrodes. It continuously monitors ECG activity for 14 days using an adhesive patch that sticks to the chest.
- Implanted loop recorders: This small monitor is implanted under the chest’s skin. It can be left in place to monitor heart rhythms for three or more years.
Depending on your symptoms and suspected or known condition, your cardiologist will determine which event monitor is most appropriate for you to wear and for what time.
Who needs to wear an event monitor?
Those who suspect heart arrhythmias or those whose healthcare provider recommends its use should wear an event monitor. Most of the time, doctors begin with an ECG or EKG. However, these monitoring devices don’t always pick up every abnormal rhythm, such as a low, fast, or irregular heartbeat. Some arrhythmias happen only once in a while or might be a temporary occurrence.
According to Johns Hopkins, “You may need an event monitor to evaluate certain kinds of temporary symptoms, such as palpitations. You might feel that your heart is beating too hard or skipping a beat. Dizziness and fainting are other symptoms that might be signs that you need an event monitor.”
While there are no risks to using an event monitor aside from minor irritation under the electrodes, similar to a Holter monitor, there are things patients with an event monitor should avoid. The following may disrupt the signal of the monitor:
- Cell phones
- Electric blankets
- Electric toothbrushes
- High-voltage areas
- Metal detectors
The last thing you want to happen is to devote time to your monitor only to have it not work correctly. Always follow the doctor’s instructions before, during, and after using a cardiac event monitor to ensure you get the most out of the diagnostic test.
If you suspect you have heart arrhythmias, a cardiac event monitor may be the right diagnostic tool for you. It is non-invasive, efficient, and commonly used by many individuals who need to learn more about their cardiac health. There are many benefits to this type of monitor, and it can help provide peace of mind for those needing to use it. Is a cardiac event monitor right for you? Talk to a cardiologist, such as one with the Cardiovascular Group, today and determine if this test could help diagnose your condition.