A heart (or cardiac) event monitor is a small, portable device that records the heart’s electrical activity for up to 30 days. Doctors use a cardiac event monitor to see whether your child is having unusual heart rates or rhythms (arrhythmias). Cardiac event monitoring is painless and noninvasive, which means it doesn’t enter your child’s body.
The heart’s electrical system controls the heart’s rate and rhythm by sending mild electric signals through heart muscle. These signals trigger the heart’s chambers to pump blood through the heart and to the lungs and body.
The way the monitor works is similar to an electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG). A standard, or resting, EKG measures and records the heart’s electrical activity to check for problems with heart rates (too fast or too slow) or rhythms (steady or irregular). At Pediatric Heart Specialists (PHS), a standard electrocardiogram is one of the first steps we take to evaluate your child’s heart.
Because a standard EKG records for only a few seconds, it may miss symptoms that don’t happen all the time. Cardiac event monitoring can capture unusual heart activity and symptoms that occur only weekly or monthly.
If our pediatric cardiologists suspect that your child may have an arrhythmia, we may recommend an event monitor. Cardiac event monitoring can help if:
We use a cardiac event recorder to help diagnose arrhythmia by evaluating symptoms such as:
If your child experiences symptoms more often, we may recommend a Holter monitor, which records continuously for periods of 24 hours to 14 days. Your child wears a Holter monitor to capture heart symptoms that happen daily or several times a week.
A heart event monitor can record unusual electrical activity in your child’s heart for 30 days. While wearing the device, your child activates the recording whenever they notice symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat.
You’ll bring your child to our office to get the event monitor, which includes:
At PHS, we use wireless event monitors so the electrodes transmit wirelessly to the device. The electrodes stay on your child’s chest for the 30-day testing period. Your child can put the device in their pocket or clip it to their clothing. It may have a strap and pouch so they can wear it around their neck or over their shoulder.
We typically use auto-trigger event monitors, which:
After we set up the event monitor, we provide you and your child with instructions about how to:
The event monitor transmits data whenever your child is wearing it and it’s in cellular service. The device company monitors the recordings as they come in, in real time. A company representative calls us if the recordings show that your child is having unusual heart symptoms.
After the 30-day testing period, the company sends us the test results to evaluate for diagnosis. We review the results with you and begin planning the next steps in your child’s care.
Cardiac event monitoring is a safe, painless, noninvasive test. The only risk is skin irritation or an allergic reaction to the adhesive on the electrodes. We can provide electrodes for sensitive skin, if you request them.