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A cardiac event monitor is a small device that you wear or keep with you. It records the electrical activity of your heart. It records times when your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular. These are called cardiac events.
The monitor will give your doctor the same kind of information as an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG shows the heart's electrical activity as line tracings on paper.
There are different types of monitors. Your doctor will choose the type that works best for you and is most likely to help find your heart problem.
This test is used to look for irregular heartbeats. It can help your doctor find out what is causing symptoms such as chest pain, fainting, or lightheadedness. It also can help the doctor see if treatment for an abnormal heartbeat is working.
Many people have abnormal heartbeats from time to time. Because these kinds of heartbeats can come and go, it may be hard to record one while you are in the doctor's office. Tracking your heartbeat for a longer time and during your whole day makes it easier to record your cardiac events.
If you are getting a monitor with electrode pads on your chest:
Some types of monitors don't use electrode pads. Some types are worn on your wrist like a watch. Others are stuck to your chest with a sticky patch. Or you may have a monitor that you carry with you. Your doctor will explain which type of monitor you have and how to use it.
Some monitors start recording on their own when they detect an abnormal heartbeat. With others, you may have to start the recording when you have symptoms. Your doctor will explain which type of monitor you have and how to use it.
You may use the monitor for up to a month or longer. It depends on how long it takes to record irregular heartbeat episodes. It also depends on how long your doctor wants to keep monitoring your heart.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of: January 10, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology
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