In some cases, it is necessary for a cardiologist to understand what is occurring to a patient's heart over a prolonged period of time, rather than the snapshot provided by an echocardiogram or electrocardiogram, or the ECG Holter monitor.
Some will be fitted with a Patient Activated Recorder. This works in the same way as the ECG Holter monitor but also has a handheld trigger unit that the patient activates in order to commence monitoring when heart symptoms are felt.
Implanted Loop Recorders (ILRs) are injected under the skin in the upper chest through a small surgical procedure and can continuously record the heartbeat for up to two years. Many patients who require monitoring for just 1-6 weeks are more suited for new recorders that are fitted on top of the skin.
The Carnation Ambulatory Monitor (CAM) has been developed by BardyDx and uses state-of-the art electronics to collect data from the heart. The CAM is placed in the middle of a patient's chest and has good resolution for detecting heart rhythm disturbances.
Another new monitor, similar to CAM, is the Zio XT Patch developed by iRhythm Technologies. The Zio patch is stuck on the left upper chest and during the fortnight that it's worn provides extensive data on the heart rhythm which is automatically analysed and distilled into a 15-page report once the device is returned to the clinic.
If any monitoring over a sustained period of time is required your cardiologist will discuss the various monitors with you and then a joint decision will be made regarding the type of monitor that will be fitted.