A cardiac event recorder is a battery-powered portable device that you control to tape-record your heart’s electrical activity (ECG) when you have symptoms. There are two types of event recorders: a loop memory monitor and a symptom event monitor.
Cardiac event recorders and other devices that record your ECG as you go about your daily activities are also called ambulatory electrocardiographic monitors.
A cardiac event recorder makes a record of your electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) when you have fast or slow heartbeats, or feel dizzy or like you want to faint. It can also be used to see how you respond to medicines.
Some cardiac event recorders store your ECG in memory in the monitor. Your ECG can be sent by telephone to a receiving center or to your doctor.
There are no risks when using a cardiac event recorder.
Why do people need to use a cardiac event recorder?Tests such as electrocardiograms let your doctor look at your heart’s activity at rest and at one point in time. But abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac symptoms may come and go. The main purpose of an event monitor is to record your heart rate and rhythm during a symptom (“event”). They work only when a person turns on the device. Your doctor may recommend an event monitor when symptoms are infrequent – less than daily.
You may be asked to wear a cardiac event recorder if you have fast, slow or irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias.
Wearing the monitor may tell your doctor:
If your medicines are working.
If a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is working properly.
Why you have symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, faintness or the feeling that your heart is racing or skipping a beat.
If your heart is getting enough oxygen to meet its needs.
A small battery-operated device that helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm. There are two parts: a generator and wires (leads).
- The generator is a small battery-powered unit.
- It produces the electrical impulses that stimulate your heart to beat.
- The generator may be implanted under your skin through a small incision.
- The generator is connected to your heart through tiny wires that are implanted at the same time.
- The impulses flow through these leads to your heart and are timed to flow at regular intervals just as impulses from your heart's natural pacemaker would.
Why do I need one?
Your doctor may recommend a pacemaker to make your heart beat more regularly if:
- Your heartbeat is too slow and often irregular
- Your heartbeat is sometimes normal and sometimes too fast or too slow.
How does it work?
It replaces the heart's defective natural pacemaker functions.
- The sinoatrial (SA) node or sinus node is the heart's natural pacemaker. It's a small mass of specialized cells in the top of the right atrium (upper chamber of the heart). It produces the electrical impulses that cause your heart to beat.
- A chamber of the heart contracts when an electrical impulse or signal moves across it. For the heart to beat properly, the signal must travel down a specific path to reach the ventricles (the heart's lower chambers).
- When the heart's natural pacemaker is defective, the heartbeat may be too fast, too slow or irregular.
- Rhythm problems also can occur because of a blockage of your heart's electrical pathways.
- The pacemaker's pulse generator sends electrical impulses to the heart to help it pump properly. An electrode is placed next to the heart wall and small electrical charges travel through the wire to the heart.
- Most pacemakers have a sensing mode that inhibits the pacemaker from sending impulses when the heartbeat is above a certain level. It allows the pacemaker to fire when the heartbeat is too slow. These are called demand pacemakers.
The pacemaker generator is the metal piece that you can feel under your skin. A battery is sealed within your generator. Your healthcare provider will check the generator for battery power and function during scheduled generator checks. He will decide when it is time for your generator to be changed. He will replace your generator before the battery runs out of power completely. Pacemaker batteries can last up to 12 years. He will also replace the generator if it does not function properly.
If you have additional questions, please review our FAQ page.