Providing information about your heart to your doctor
Advanced technology makes it possible for your doctor to get information about your heart without interrupting your life. Continuous heart monitoring is useful for capturing irregular heartbeats that happen infrequently — in some cases, you may not even feel any symptoms. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend heart monitoring.
Your doctor may suspect that health concerns, such as unexplained fainting or an unexplained stroke, may be related to your heart. Cardiac monitoring is used to either identify or rule out a heart rhythm disorder and to determine the right course of treatment. Your doctor may recommend continuous heart monitoring to assist in diagnosis of health conditions, including:
Atrial fibrillation (or AFib) is a common condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat very fast and irregularly. If you have AFib, or your doctor suspects that you do, cardiac monitoring may be recommended to determine how often and how long it occurs. In some cases, your doctor may want to monitor how effective different treatments are at keeping your AFib under control.
Types of cardiac monitoring vary in terms of how long they can be used and how information is captured. Common types of cardiac monitoring systems include:
A portable external monitor that includes wires with patches that attach to the skin. It continuously measures and records the heart’s activity for 1-2 days.
A recorder worn on the body for up to 30 days. It typically requires activation by pushing a button to record the heart’s activity.
A wearable monitor that automatically detects, records and transmits abnormal heart rhythms for up to 30 days.
An insertable monitor placed just under the skin that automatically detects and records abnormal heart rhythms for up to 5 years.
If you’re wondering about how advanced continuous heart monitoring might help guide your health care decisions, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Here are some questions you might ask:
You may want to save or print these questions and take them with you to your next doctor’s appointment.
Most insurance plans will cover heart monitoring for indicated conditions. But if you have questions about the coverage your insurance offers for either short-term or long-term heart monitoring, call your health insurance company to ask.
It’s always best to get prior authorization before receiving a continuous heart monitoring system.