Wireless cardiac event monitors help diagnose abnormal heart rhythms


BROOKINGS – Brookings Health recently added Zio wireless cardiac event monitors to its outpatient cardiopulmonary services. The new monitors will help diagnose patients with infrequent or temporary abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation (A-fib) or atrial flutter.

“Irregular heartbeats when left untreated can lead to larger health problems, such as heart attack or stroke,” said Respiratory Care Director Lynne Thompson, RN. “Therapies exist to treat abnormal cardiac rhythms, but first physicians need to monitor patients’ hearts to find the abnormality. The new, wireless cardiac event monitors make it more comfortable for patients to monitor their heart during their normal daily activities, giving physicians the best information to diagnose and treat arrhythmia.”

Cardiac event monitors record the heart’s electrical activity to create an electrocardiogram (EKG) that shows the heart’s rate and rhythm over a longer period of time. A physician may have a patient wear a monitor if a patient experiences symptoms such as fluttering, a racing heart, slow heartbeat, chest pain or shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue, lightheadedness or dizziness, sweating and fainting or near fainting episodes.

A patient wears a wireless cardiac event monitor for one to two weeks, as directed by their doctor. The monitor adheres to a patient’s chest by placing a patch just over their heart. If the patient feels any symptoms while wearing the monitor, they press a button on the monitor and record their symptoms. After the patient has worn the monitor for the prescribed time, they remove the monitor and mail it in the postage-paid box to have the results downloaded. Results are then sent to Brookings Health System to be interpreted and are shared with the patient’s physician.

Patients who believe they may benefit from a wireless cardiac event monitor should speak with their primary care provider. More information about Brookings HealthSystem’s outpatient cardiopulmonary services can be found at brookingshealth.org/Cardiopulmonary.

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