An event monitor, or recorder, is a wearable device that records the electrical activity of your heart periodically for up to a month. While a Holter monitor gathers data about the heart’s activity continuously, an event monitor records data only when an “event” is occurring - that is, when you are experiencing symptoms.
The monitor is a small electronic device that is connected with wires to sticky patches (electrodes) that are placed on the skin of your chest. The monitor is small enough to clip to your belt or keep in your pocket.
How Does It Work?
An event monitor, like an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) reads your heart’s electrical activity. Your heart has an electrical system that functions like a natural pacemaker. Electrical signals travel through the chambers of the heart to cause it to beat. If the heart’s natural electrical system is not functioning correctly, an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) may result. This dysfunction may be the cause of symptoms of your heart racing, palpitations, or feeling faint. The event monitor records the heart’s electrical activities when you are experiencing symptoms. An event monitor is a good diagnostic tool for people who may experience infrequent cardiac symptoms.
How Is It Performed?
You will be fitted with an event recorder at your cardiologist’s office and given instructions on how and when to transmit data from the recorder. When you are experiencing cardiac symptoms, you press a button on the device to begin recording data from the heart’s electrical activity. The electrodes on the event monitor detect the heart’s electrical activity and transmit this information through the leads to the monitor. Some event monitors are able to detect abnormal heart rhythms and begin recording automatically.
You will be asked by your cardiologist to periodically call a phone number to transmit data from your event recorder.
Is It Safe?
Wearing an event monitor is safe. However, if you have an allergy to any adhesives, be sure to let the cardiologist and nurse know, as the electrodes are attached to the skin with adhesive.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Event Monitoring
The following questions can help you talk to your physician about wearing an event monitor. Consider printing out or writing down these questions and taking them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.
- What information will an event monitor provide about my heart health?
- What will I need to do to record and transmit data from the event monitor?
- When do I return the event monitor?
- What happens next if the data from the event monitor shows a potential problem with my heart’s rhythm?
Please print this list of questions here. Take them with you to the doctor and share them with friends and loved ones when you are encouraging them to see their doctors.