A cardiac event recorder is a battery-powered portable device that you wear to wirelessly record your heart’s electrical activity (ECG) when you have symptoms. A symptom event monitor is a hand-held device. When you feel a symptom or irregular heartbeat, you activate a recording button.
- A cardiac event recorder makes a record of your electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) when you have fast or slow heartbeats, or feel dizzy or like you want to faint. It can also be used to see how you respond to medicines.
- Your ECG can be sent by telephone to a receiving center or to your doctor.
- There are no risks when using a cardiac event recorder.
Why do people need to use a cardiac event recorder?
Tests such as electrocardiograms let your doctor look at your heart’s activity at rest and at one point in time. But abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac symptoms may come and go. The main purpose of an event monitor is to record your heart rate and rhythm during a symptom (“event”). They work only when a person turns on the device. Your doctor may recommend an event monitor when symptoms are infrequent – less than daily. You may be asked to wear a cardiac event recorder if you have fast, slow or irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias.
Wearing the monitor may tell your doctor:
- If your medicines are working.
- If a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is working properly.
- Why you have symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, faintness or the feeling that your heart is racing or skipping a beat.
- If your heart is getting enough oxygen to meet its needs.
What are the risks of cardiac event recorders?
Wearing a cardiac event recorder has no risks and causes no pain. However, if you wear electrode patches, the adhesive might irritate your skin. Any skin irritation disappears when the patches are removed.
How do I attach a cardiac event recorder?
The recorder will be attached at an office visit and explained in detail how to be worn and used.
What happens after wearing a cardiac event recorder?
Event monitors are typically worn for 30 days. With several recordings, your doctor will be able to decide if your irregular heartbeats require more tests or treatment.
How can I learn more about cardiac event recorders?
Talk with your doctor. Here are some good questions to ask:
- How long do I need to wear the monitor?
- What will the results tell you about my heart?
- What other tests or treatments might I need when this test is over?