If your Ohio State cardiologist suspects you may have a heart rhythm problem, he or she may recommend you wear a cardiac event monitor. This small, battery-operated device records the activity of your heart. You’ll wear it over a period of several weeks, with the goal of wearing it as much as possible to ensure you’re able to capture rhythm irregularities during your daily routine.

While you’re wearing the monitor, you should press the button on the device each time you experience any of the following symptoms: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Fainting 
  • Fatigue 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Palpitations 
  • Weakness

By pressing the button, the cardiac event monitor will record the electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) sample. These samples will be transmitted over the phone back to your physician right here in Columbus, who will evaluate the results. Your cardiac care team will provide you with specific, detailed instructions on wearing and using the device at home.

Conditions treated

A cardiac event monitor helps to diagnose heart arrhythmias, which are heart rhythm problems. Cardiac event monitors can also be used to diagnose a temporary condition, such as heart palpitations. Sometimes a standard ECG test in the doctor’s office or hospital can come back normal, even when a person has a heart problem. A cardiac event monitor helps to diagnose heart problems that occur less frequently, and thus may not be captured on an ECG test.

What to expect during cardiac event monitor testing

Preparing for your procedure

The day of your appointment to hook up your cardiac event monitor, please don’t use moisturizing cream or lotion on your chest. Lotion makes it more difficult for the patches to stick to your skin.

During your procedure

You should wear the cardiac event monitor as often as possible, so that it can accurately record your heartbeat and heart activity over this period of time. The monitor shouldn’t cause you any discomfort or pain. Depending on the type of monitor you receive, it may fit in your pocket or attach to your wrist like a watch.

The monitor should never get wet, so make sure to take it off when you shower or swim. Sweating — such as during exercise — may make the sensors come off, so make sure you apply new sensors after exercise. You’ll be given extra patches to use as needed after showering. Remember not to apply any lotion or cream to the area prior to reapplying the patches for monitoring.

If possible, avoid using or interacting with items that can disrupt the cardiac event monitor. Such items include: 

  • Cellphones or iPods 
  • Electric blankets 
  • Electric razors 
  • Electric toothbrushes 
  • Magnets 
  • Metal detectors 
  • Microwaves

If you need to use an electronic device while wearing the monitor, try to keep the device at least 6 inches away from the monitor.

If you find that your skin is sensitive and reacts to the adhesive of the patches, be sure to call your physician’s office to request hypoallergenic patches. If the cardiac event monitor detects any heart rhythm abnormalities while you are wearing the monitor, the monitoring company or your physician’s office may contact you.

After your procedure

The cardiac event monitor automatically sends your ECG results back to your cardiologist, who will carefully review your heart activity and make a diagnosis accordingly. You may need to come into the office to discuss the cardiac event monitor test results with your cardiologist, and work together determine the appropriate next steps of your cardiac care plan.