24-hour ECG recording
Your heart will be continuously recorded by an ECG (electrocardiogram) for over 24 hours. It may also be called Holter monitoring or ambulatory ECG. You’ll have electrodes put on your chest and the wires attached to these will be taped down. These wires will lead to a small portable tape recorder, which you will wear on a belt around your waist. A 24-hour ECG helps to diagnose symptoms, such as palpitations, which only happen now and again. Sometimes it can show up an abnormal heart rhythm that might need treatment. It can also help reassure patients if the results are normal.
Cardiac event recorders
If your symptoms are less frequent, your doctor might suggest using a cardiac event recorder (sometimes termed "loop recorder" or "cardiomemo") worn for a longer period of time, typically 1-2 weeks. Patients may activate the device to record an ECG if symptoms are felt.
Implantible loop recorders
If more prolonged monitoring is needed, and it is essential to rule out serious cardiac rhythm disturbance (for example if unexplained recurrent blackouts) an implantable loop recorder (ILR) can be used. This may be inserted just under the skin of the upper chest wall by a simple procedure performed under local anaesthetic and can continuously monitor heartbeat for up to 14 months.