Cardiac monitoring /ambulatory heart rate monitor / heart ‘tape’
Cardiac monitoring is an umbrella term for many different types of test which monitor the heartbeat over a period of time, either intermittently or continuously. Continuous heart rate monitoring is sometimes called a 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour or 7-day monitor and records every single heartbeat of your heart during the specified time frame. Other cardiac monitoring tests (often referred to as their trade name such as R-Test Cardiomemo or Novacor) are designed to intermittently record the heartbeat when you experience symptoms. All these types of tests are designed to pick up abnormalities of the heart rhythm such as a slow heart rate, extra beats (ectopic beats), fast heart rates (SVT / VT) and irregular heartbeats (such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter). These tests are often requested if you have palpitations, dizziness or blackouts.
The test is usually performed as an out-patient in the Cardiology Department. You will be asked to undress from the waist upwards and stickers (known as electrodes) will be placed on the chest) These will be attached with wires to a small box which clips onto your belt. The member of staff helping to fit the device will show you how to use it. You will sometimes also be given a diary sheet to record any symptoms that you experience whilst the tape is fitted.
Whilst the monitor is in-situ you are encouraged to go-about your usual daily routine and record any symptoms you have on your diary sheet. This is important because when we analyse the test, we will be able to see what your heart is doing at the time you get symptoms. You will be given instructions on when to remove the monitor and how to return it to the department once the monitoring period has finished.
The results will be analysed and a report will be sent to the Healthcare Professional who requested the test.