Event Monitoring A Guide to Help You Get Ready
What is event monitoring?
This is used to record your heart rhythm when you are having symptoms, or an “event”.
You carry a recorder for up to a month. You carry this while going about your daily routine. When you sense symptoms, you press a button. The device will record and store a number of minutes of your heart’s electrical activity.
What is it used for?
If you’ve been having symptoms that come and go, such as palpitations, feeling dizzy, or fainting spells, your doctor may want to find out what is causing you to feel this way. This test will tell your doctor if your symptoms are caused by a heart rhythm that is not normal or by an arrhythmia.
An arrhythmia is a change in either the speed or pattern of your heartbeat. During this, your heart may beat too fast, too slow, or without a pattern.
Doctors can find this by getting an electrocardiogram, or ECG. This is a record of how your heart is beating. During a standard ECG test, the heart’s beats are recorded on a strip of moving paper.
Quite often, an arrhythmia will not occur during the short time (less than a minute) that the ECG is being done. Your doctor may want to record the ECG over a longer time.
If your symptoms are frequent (many times a week), your doctor may obtain a 24 - 48 hour Holter monitor test. The Holter Monitor is worn on a strap over your shoulder or around your waist. It records the ECG without stopping, whether or not you have symptoms.
If your symptoms come and go, you may need to be monitored longer than 24 - 48 hours. Your doctor may order an event recorder. This can be used for a longer length of time.
Types of Event Recorders
There are two basic types of event recorders. Your doctor will decide which type is best for you. The device must be kept dry at all times. Getting the unit wet will damage it beyond repair.
- Memory-Loop Recorder
This may also be called a pre-event recorder. It has a memory loop that allows the device to “remember” what happened for several seconds or minutes before and after an event.
The device is the size of a pager. It may be clipped to your belt, placed in a shirt pocket, or hung like a necklace around your neck.
The recorder is attached to two small sticky patches, called leads. These are placed on your chest or arms.
This is worn all day and all night. The recorder watches your heart’s electrical activity. When you have symptoms, you press a button to start the device. It will record and store many minutes of ECG data before, during, and after an event.
Later on, you can send the stored data over the phone to the hospital.
- Hand-held Recorder
This does not have a memory loop. It cannot “remember” what happened before it is turned on. It starts recording your heart rhythm only after the button is pressed.
This type of device is small, light, and pocket size. No leads are needed.
You carry the recorder in a pocket or purse. When you feel symptoms, you hold the recorder against the skin of your chest and turn the device on by pressing a button. It will record and store about 30 seconds of heart rhythm after the event.
You’ll be given the event recorder at the hospital or clinic. You will be shown how to use the device. You may also be given written instructions to take home with you.
You will use the device for up to one month, turning it on when symptoms occur. Once you’ve stored an event, you will be asked to either return the recorder or to transmit the ECG over the phone. Do not use a cell phone to transmit data. The signal is not strong enough to send clear data. ECG readings should be transmitted to: Life Support Systems (Florida) at 1-800-659-8151.
You will call the receiving center to send the data over the phone. When you are told to do so, press the “send” button on the recorder. Then place the mouthpiece of the phone over the recorder. The stored ECG data are then sent to the center. Do not hang up the phone until you are told to do so by Life Support Systems. This will assure that the data has been received before hanging up.
If you have severe symptoms, such as palpations or dizziness, you should record the event. Call the receiving center right away to transmit it. If action is needed right away, Life Support Systems will tell you what to do.
The device you are using is owned by Life Support Systems. If the unit is damaged or not returned, you may be charged for the device.
Your Test Results
Once the data has been sent to the receiving center, a nurse or doctor will look at the data to find out why you are having symptoms. Your doctor will use this to design a treatment plan that is best for you.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/15/2011
Copyright © 09/15/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5489
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