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Reasons to Monitor Your Heart Rhythm

There are several reasons why heart rhythm monitoring might be recommended. It’s most often needed when there is a question about whether you have a heart rhythm issue that a standard ECG hasn’t or most likely won’t picked up.

Some common reasons are if you have:

  • Heart palpitations. For example, if you notice your heart is flip-flopping or beating unevenly or very quickly. Many heart palpitations aren’t serious and are more of a nuisance (for example with premature ventricular contractions, or PVCs, which are “extra” heartbeats). Still, it’s important to know what is happening with your heart, and whether you need any follow-up visits.
  • Other symptoms – for example dizziness or feeling faint – that suggest you might have atrial fibrillation or another heart rhythm disorder.
  • Unexplained fainting spells, stroke, or mini strokes.
  • A family history of or existing heart disease. Heart rhythm problems are common among people with heart disease, but many people may not have clear symptoms and may even have a normal ECG. Finding a heart rhythm problem early can help prevent other complications.
  • Had a recent heart-related event or treatment to be able to monitor your heart activity for any irregular or dangerous rhythms after:
    • Starting or stopping a heart medicine
    • An ablation
    • A heart attack
    • Finding out you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other heart problems linked to heart rhythm disorders

Benefits of Using a Heart Monitor

Heart monitors can help:

  • Record your heart’s activity as you go about your usual day. A heart monitor can cover a much longer period of time than is possible with an ECG in your doctor’s office. (Those tend to provide only 10-15 seconds of activity).
  • Pick up on irregular heart rhythms that don’t happen very often and that a standard ECG can miss. Many offbeat heart rhythms can come and go quickly. If you have symptoms while you are wearing a monitor, it can help give you and your care team answers.

    Think of it as going fishing and casting a wider net to catch abnormal heart rhythms that aren’t predictable in terms of when they occur or that last for very short periods of time.

  • Detect irregular heartbeats that you may not be aware of if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Give peace of mind that your care team will see any changes to your heart’s electrical activity and figure out if your symptoms are, in fact, related to your heart.

Over time, heart monitors have become much smaller and less cumbersome. Today, many can be sent back in the mail for added convenience. 

  • Last Edited 04/19/2024