EKG testing can’t always catch an abnormal heart rhythm if it occurs infrequently and temporarily. In such cases, Holter or event monitoring may be the best way to track your heart’s electrical activity for a longer period of time and in a range of scenarios, increasing the likelihood that it will record the abnormality.
The team at Coastal Cardiology of Orange County may recommend Holter or event monitoring to evaluate certain kinds of unexplained symptoms, such as heart palpitations, dizziness, or fainting. They may also recommend temporary remote heart monitoring if your heartbeat is abnormally fast, abnormally slow, or irregular.
If you’re already being treated for an abnormal heart rhythm problem, event monitoring can help your cardiologist see how well the treatment is working.
A Holter monitor uses electrodes, wires, and a small wearable recording device to track your heart rhythm over time, usually 24-48 hours. You wear this remote home monitoring device as you go about your daily activities, including when you sleep.
During your Holter monitoring period, you may be asked to record any symptoms you experience, the exact time they occur, and what you’re doing when they happen.
When the monitoring period ends, you return the device to the team at Coastal Cardiology of Orange County. Your doctor evaluates the data from the monitor and compares it with your notes to determine if intermittent, unexplained symptoms might be related to abnormal heart rhythms.
If you don’t experience irregular heart rhythms during short-term Holter monitoring, the team at Coastal Cardiology of Orange County may recommend a longer-term form of Holter monitoring called event monitoring.
An event monitor records heart rhythms over a greater span of time, such as a 30-day period. While a Holter monitor records continuously, however, an event monitor records when it’s activated by the abnormal heart rhythms it’s designed to detect.
There are two main types of event monitors:
When a symptom event monitor is activated — either by you or automatically — it records your heart’s electrical signal for the next several minutes.
A memory looping monitor, or loop recorder, does the same thing as a symptom event monitor, but it records information from a few minutes before the device was activated until a few minutes after your symptoms end.
This way, it captures data from before, during, and after your symptoms.
Mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) is a form of continuous event monitoring that transmits your heart rhythm data to a cardiac monitoring provider in real-time. That way, if an arrhythmia is detected, the data is downloaded and sent to your physician within 12-24 hours.
The main difference between MCT monitoring and standard event monitoring is that the event monitor results aren’t available until after the monitoring period is complete.
To learn more about the Holter and event monitoring services at Coastal Cardiology of Orange County, call your nearest office, or schedule an appointment online today.