Heart monitoring doesn’t just happen at the cardiology clinic in London. Sometimes your doctor will ask you to take a portable monitoring device home so that your health can be monitored for 24 hours or more.
Portable Heart Monitors
When you come into the cardiology clinic in London for a heart test, your doctor can see what is going in in your heart for a few minutes, but this doesn’t always give us all the information we need to keep you healthy. Sometimes a problem such as an arrhythmia only shows up occasionally, so if we can’t catch it happening while you are at the clinic, we might need to send you home with a monitor that will record the problem the next time it occurs. In other cases, we might want to see how your heart is coping with everyday life, rather than only seeing it in a clinic setting.
Wearing a Portable Monitor
Portable heart monitors are small, lightweight devices that can monitor your blood pressure or record the electrical activity in your heart, just like an ECG in the clinic. The monitor can usually be attached to a belt, but there will also be an ECG electrode to attach to your skin or a blood pressure cuff to go around your arm. It is important to keep the monitor dry, to ensure the electrode stays in place, and to avoid twisting the tube connecting the blood pressure cuff to the monitor.
You will probably feel very aware of the monitor at first, but after a while you might actually forget that it is there, although you will feel an ambulatory blood pressure monitor take a measurement every 15 to 30 minutes. Most people will need to wear the monitor for 24 hours, but your doctor might ask you to keep it on a little longer if more data is needed. At the end of the required time, you simply return to the cardiology clinic in London, hand over the device, and let your doctor examine the data it has collected.