How It Is Done continued...
When you sleep, try to stay on your back with the recorder
carefully positioned at your side so that the electrodes are not pulled off. If
one of the electrodes or lead wires comes loose, a light on the monitor will
flash. Press on the center of each electrode to see if you can restore the
contact. Call your doctor if one of the electrodes comes off and you can't get
it to stay on.
While you are wearing a monitor, try to stay away from magnets,
metal detectors, high-voltage areas, garage door openers, microwave ovens, and
electric blankets. Do not use an electric toothbrush or shaver. Signals from
these types of electronic equipment can sometimes interfere with the recording.
At the end of the recording period (usually 24 hours), you will
return to the doctor's office or hospital to have the electrodes removed, or
you may be able to remove the electrodes yourself. The recorded tape will be
read by computer to provide information about your heart rate, the frequency of
your heartbeats, and any irregularities.
After the monitoring period, your doctor will compare the timing
of your activities and symptoms with the recorded heart pattern.
The accuracy and usefulness of this test depend on how carefully you record your activities and symptoms and the times they occurred.
The procedure for intermittent recording depends on the type of
- Loop recorder. Electrodes will be attached to
your chest in the same way as a continuous recorder, and you will start the
recorder when you have symptoms of a heart problem. If you pass out, you should
start the recorder as soon as you wake up. Also, be sure a friend or family
member knows how to start the recorder if you pass out.
- Event monitor. You will carry the small
recording device where you can reach it quickly, such as in your pocket or
purse. When you have symptoms of a heart problem, press the small metal discs
on the back of the monitor (electrodes) against your chest.
You may be instructed to call your doctor, clinic, or hospital
while you are having symptoms or soon after you record your heart rhythm so
that the information on the monitor can be analyzed right away.
How It Feels
The electrode sites may itch slightly during the ambulatory EKG
recording, and the skin on your chest may look or feel irritated when the
electrodes are removed. The recording unit is very lightweight, so carrying it
usually is not uncomfortable.
There is no risk from ambulatory EKG monitoring. The electrodes
placed on your skin detect only the electrical signals from your heart. No
electricity is sent through your body, and there is no possibility of receiving
an electric shock.