You’re going along until suddenly, you feel your heart lurch, skip a beat, and flutter. Your next stop is the cardiologist, who says you have an arrhythmia. Essentially, your heart’s beating irregularly (either too slow or too fast).
There’s no need to panic — arrhythmias are usually harmless. But they can indicate an underlying issue.
For instance, arrhythmia can be a symptom of atrial fibrillation (AFib) when the upper heart chambers contract irregularly. Left unchecked, AFib can lead to serious problems, like blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.
Because an irregular heartbeat can point to myriad issues, Dr. Fahmi Farah at Bentley Heart in Fort Worth, Texas, likes to keep a close eye on your heart, and we do that with cardiac monitoring.
These days, there’s more than one way to monitor your heart, so in this blog, we walk through each option so you know more about what to expect.
Electrocardiograms (EKGs) are usually performed in our office to investigate your heart’s electrical activity. However, if your arrhythmia symptoms are sporadic, we may not be able to catch the issue when you’re in our office.
So, depending on what we believe is happening in your heart, we set you up with one of the following monitors that allow you to track your heart’s activity on the go.
Holter monitors are portable EKGs that continuously record your heart’s electrical activity. Dr. Farah attaches electrodes to your chest and connects the portable EKG devices you can carry in your pocket or wear around your waist. We usually have you wear a Holter monitor for one day up to two weeks.
This type of cardiac monitoring is best when we suspect an arrhythmia but can’t detect it during an in-office EKG.
Event monitors are similar to Holter monitors, but instead of providing continuous feedback, they only track your heart’s electrical activity when you activate the device. An event monitor is best if your arrhythmia symptoms occur occasionally. You use an event monitoring for longer than a Holter monitor (around 30 days).
Many event monitors connect to apps on smart devices, which store your information and even allow Dr. Farah to see abnormal activity in real-time.
Telemetry monitoring may be best for you if you’ve just had a major cardiac event like a heart attack or heart surgery. Telemetry monitoring is a portable EKG device that gathers data on your heart’s activity, detects arrhythmias, and sends the information to a central location.
Smartwatches, apps, and phones are great tools you can use on your own to keep track of your heart health, and most allow you to store your information long-term — the FDA even approves some. Talk to Dr. Farah about which device(s) you have before relying on them to make decisions about your health.
If you have more questions about cardiac monitoring, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment with Dr. Farah today.