What is ECG Monitoring?
Ambulatory ECG monitoring is a tool we use to screen for irregular heart rhythms that can be dangerous to our health, and potentially fatal. This monitor is essential in detecting an irregular heart rhythm because the device allows us to monitor the heart rate and rhythm over an extended period of time.This is superior to a routine ECG that is done in the office because the ECG only shows us a brief snapshot of the heart rate and rhythm in that moment of time.
What type of Remote Cardiac Monitoring do we provide?
At Medical Offices of Manhattan we provide the most up to date ECG Monitoring. Our monitoring systems are small, easy to use and give your health care provider results in real-time. The types of monitors we offer differ based on the length of time that the monitor is worn. Our Holter monitor is worn for 24 hours and our ambulatory ECG monitors are worn for 4 days and, if necessary, up to 30 days. The length of time that the monitor is worn will be customized to each patient based on their health care provider’s assessment.
How do you prepare for Ambulatory ECG Monitoring?
The monitor should be placed on clean and dry skin. The patient should avoid using any lotion, creams, oils or perfume on the chest while using the monitor. This will prevent the leads (stickers) from falling off.
Why is ECG Monitoring performed?
The ECG monitor gives us long-term data about the patient’s heart rate and heart rhythm. We use this test to ensure that an irregular, and potentially dangerous, heart rhythm is not causing symptoms such as palpitations, chest discomfort, fainting, dizziness or fatigue. Long-term monitoring is also helpful to screen for abnormal heart rhythms that can be associated with medical conditions such as stroke, obstructive sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease or structural abnormalities of the heart. We also recommend routine ambulatory ECG monitoring for any patient taking stimulant medication such as Adderall or Vyvanse as these medications can put patients at risk for abnormal heart rhythms.
What can you expect during ECG Monitoring?
You will be provided with a small, portable, device that is smaller than the standard smart phone. The device fits in your pocket or can clip on to your belt. The device has 3 wires attached to it. The wires are connected to 3 stickers worn on your chest underneath your clothes so that no one will be able to see that you are wearing the device. You will wear the monitor as much as possible over the monitoring period and only take it off if you need to shower or get wet. If you need to take off the device you can simply remove the stickers / monitor and then replace it with new stickers afterwards. You should continue with your normal daily routine while wearing the device. If you have any symptoms (such as chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, etc) while wearing the monitor, you can press the symptom button and this will flag the ECG tracing during that time to your provider. The device is worn for 1-4 days and will immediately alert your healthcare provider if there are any dangerous heart rhythms noted.
What is the followup like for ECG Monitoring?
The follow up is simple. The patient will schedule an appointment with our cardiology team where their results will be discussed in detail. Treatment will be tailored to the patient based on their results.
What are the potential risks for Ambulatory ECG Monitoring?
Ambulatory monitoring is a safe, non-invasive test. For patients with sensitive skin we recommend periodically changing the position of the stickers to prevent skin irritation or rash.
Are there related tests to Ambulatory ECG Monitoring?
When given a monitor you may also have a test such as an ECG which is a 10 second ‘snapshot’ of your heart rate and rhythm before the device is placed and/or an echocardiogram which is a non-invasive ultrasound of your heart that will allow your provider to assess your heart structure and function. After wearing the device a cardiologist may recommend doing a stress test which will allow the provider to see your heart rate and rhythm during exercise. If further testing is warranted this will be discussed with the patient in detail.