How It Is Done continued...
Another type of continuous recorder can be put under the
skin of the chest. This recorder can be kept in your chest for more than a year. During that time, it records the electrical signals from your heart.
Another kind of ambulatory EKG monitoring is the intermittent
recorder. This is used when symptoms of an abnormal heart rhythm do not happen
very often. This kind of recorder can be used for a longer time than a
continuous recorder. The information collected by an intermittent recorder can
often be sent over the phone to a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital.
You may be told to call your doctor, clinic, or hospital
while you are having symptoms or soon after you record your heart rhythm. This way the information on the monitor can be looked at right away.
The way intermittent recording is done depends on the type of
monitor being used.
Loop recorder. A loop recorder constantly
records your heartbeats. It lets you track when you have symptoms. Loop recorders also save a small amount of
information about how your heart was beating when you pressed the recording
button. This is called presymptom recording. This feature is especially useful for people who
pass out when their heart problems occur and can press the button
only after they wake up.
- Electrodes will be attached to
your chest in the same way as with a continuous recorder. When you have symptoms, you press a button on the
monitor to record your heart rhythm. 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.
- One type of loop recorder can be placed under the skin of your chest. This is done with surgery. The recorder can be worn for several weeks. This may be
a good choice for people who have symptoms that happen rarely, such as once
every 6 months. The recorder may start recording on its own when it detects an abnormal heartbeat. Or you might use a handheld device to start the monitor when symptoms
Event monitor. This small device records your heartbeats only
when you have symptoms. You are not attached to the machine.
There are two types of event monitors.
- One type is worn on the wrist like a watch. When you have symptoms, you press a
button to start the EKG recording.
- The other type is a device that you carry
where you can reach it easily, such as in your purse or pocket. When you have symptoms, you press the back of the device against your chest. Then you press a
button to start the recording. The back of the device has small metal discs
that work like electrodes. These handheld monitors can be very small (some are
about the size and shape of a credit card). The
event monitor records heart signals only when you hold it against your