Cardiac Event Monitor
What is a Cardiac Event Monitor?
A Cardiac Event Monitor is a portable device used to record your heart’s electrical activity at times when you experience symptoms.
It records the same information as an electrocardiogram (ECG), but for longer durations of time.
Event monitors are very similar to Holter monitors. However, while Holter monitors record continuously, usually for about 24 to 48 hours, an event monitor instead only records when you activate it.
Some event monitors will automatically start recording if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected.
There are two main types of event monitors:
1. Symptom event monitors and
2. Memory looping monitors
When you activate a symptom event monitor, for the next few minutes, it records the information from the heart’s electrical signal. A memory looping monitor does the same thing, however, it also records the information from a few minutes before the device was activated, so data from before, during and after the symptom or ‘event’ will be captured.
When is an Event Monitor Required?
Many abnormal heart rhythms occur very intermittently and only last for short periods of time. If your symptoms are short lasting and occur infrequently, then an ECG done in the clinic and a 24-hour Holter study may not capture an abnormal rhythm.
Your Doctor may still suspect that you have an abnormal heart rhythm based on your medical history, even if your ECGs and Holter studies are normal.
An Event Monitor allows you to record your heart rhythm at a time that you are experiencing the symptoms.
If you do have an abnormal rhythm, the event monitor can then help determine what type.
How do I Prepare?
We will show you how to use your event monitor. There are different types of event monitors that all work in different ways.
Cardiac memory loop monitors have sensors that attach to your chest using sticky patches. Wires connect these sensors to a monitor, which you can usually put on your belt or in your pocket. Before you put your sensors on your chest, your skin should be clean and dry, and you may need to shave the area before applying. A technician will show you how to place the electrodes.
Cardiac event recorders may not have sensors that attach to your chest, such as post-event recorders. Some models are handheld, and others attach to your wrist. For some of these models, you need to push the button on your wrist when you feel symptoms. In other models, you need to hold the recorder up to your chest in order to record.
What Should I Expect?
- If you have a cardiac loop monitor, change your sensors as instructed
- When you have a symptom, push the button to start recording. (Some start recording automatically when an abnormal rhythm is detected.)
- After you do this, stop moving. This will help the device get a good recording. The device should record for several minutes.
- For some event monitors, you will need to send your recordings via the internet to your healthcare provider.
- Someone will review your recording. In some cases, you may need to go see your healthcare provider.
- Follow all instructions about exercise. Sweat can make the sensors come off.
- There may be advice to try and avoid items that can disrupt the event monitor. These include magnets, metal detectors, microwave ovens, electric blankets, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, cell phones, and iPods. You will receive specific instruction at the time the monitor is placed.
• When you need to use an electronic device, try to keep it at least 6 inches away from the monitor.
You will also need to keep a diary while using your event monitor, so that you can record any symptoms when they happened, and take note of what you were doing at the time.
Cardiac Event Monitor Results
After a few readings, you may be able to stop wearing your event monitor. Your healthcare provider may use those readings to start your treatment.