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Event Monitoring

What is an Event Monitor?

The Event Monitor is a patient-activated device that records the heart's electrical activity (ECG). The main aim of event monitoring is to document and describe occurrences of abnormal electrical behaviour in the heart. These can be random, spontaneous, emotionally or exercise induced. These events are often rare and sometimes can be life threatening. Event monitoring is particularly useful where symptoms are only occurring intermittently and therefore may not have been documented on other diagnostic tests, including ECG and Holter monitoring.  This information has been designed to assist you and your family in understanding the Event Monitor.

How does the Event Monitor work?

The Event Monitor is always scanning the ECG via the patient leads (looping method), but only stores the ECG in memory when activated by the patient. It is pre-programmed to capture and store a timed amount of ECG before and after the record button is pressed. Memory capacity varies between models, but as a minimum standard, the monitor can store five events, each being one minute long (30 secs before and 30 secs after the record button is pressed). The monitor may be worn on a belt, in a pocket or clipped to your clothes at your waist. Two adhesive electrodes (stickers) are attached to your chest, which are connected to leads from the machine. 

When the patient feels a symptom, a simple press of the record button stores and records the ECG surrounding the event.

Reasons for the procedure

Your doctor may recommend an Event Monitor to assist in:

  • Diagnosing a heart-related cause of symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness;
  • Documentation of any rhythm disturbance (preferably onset and offset) in patients with palpitations;
  • Excluding a cardiac basis for seizures.

Becoming familiar with the Event Monitor

  1. Your doctor/technician will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions.
  2. The skin must be clean and dry and free from any moisturisers or oils which make it impossible for the electrodes to stick to the skin.
  3. Two electrodes are positioned on the chest one high on the right side and the other on the left side of the rib cage. The leads are then attached to the electrodes. Some monitors may vary in electrode number.
  4. Once the lead set is inserted into the monitor, the machine will run preliminary checks on the batteries and memory and will then start scanning. The machine alerts you when the batteries need changing or the memory is full.
  5. When experiencing a symptom, patients must press the record button to store the event. In addition, they must also write the date, time, activity and symptoms in the diary provided.
  6. The recorded data is sent via the telephone. It may be sent after one or multiple episodes have been recorded. A full explanation of sending the ECG will be given when you receive your monitor from the Cardiology Department.

Frequently asked questions

How do I pay for the Event Monitor?
For Medicare card holders the Hospital will bulk bill (please remember to bring your Medicare card), and no additional payment is required.

Are there any risks involved?
There is a small risk of minor skin irritation caused by the electrodes. Your technician will explain how best to avoid this. Please discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to wearing the monitor. You may deny consent at any time.

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