I just received my Cardionet 30-day dual alert a-fib monitor today and I'm a little frustrated. But maybe I misunderstood how it works.
First off, I guess I should explain my condition? I'm being checked out for premature ventricular contractions (PVC), and have episodes every few minutes, a hundred or more noticeable palpitations per day. I previously had a 24-hour Holter monitor that recorded continuously, but the cardiologist said he couldn't see anything wrong. My primary doctor wasn't satisfied with that and ordered the 30-day a-fib.
My first concern is that this monitor only holds 6 recordings at a time. If I try to record every episode I have, I will be making multiple calls throughout the day to submit them. Which isn't really a problem more than an inconvenience, except that I don't think the monitor is even catching the contractions. Episodes only last 1-2 seconds (and are unpredictable), and my heartbeat completely goes back to normal before I can start a recording.
My doctor mentioned that this monitor records continuously for 2 minutes but doesn't save unless I press the record button, so in theory it should be catching the contractions. But since I've started trying to record my episodes today, that doesn't seem to be the case. It sounds like it doesn't START recording until I press the button, which in my case is kind of useless. Is anyone familiar with these? Do you have any suggestions for another type of monitor that might work better?
I work for a cardiologist. He uses Cardiomet monitors and he considers them very reliable. First, are you being checked for a-fib or PVCs? Benign PVC in a structurally healthy heart are harmless. Even up to 20k a day ( which I average during flare ups) don't get my docs attention. Have you had a cardiac work up? EKG, Echo, stress test? If you have and they're good then so are you. If you haven't do so even just for piece of mind. Good luck and keep us posted on how you're doing!
Oh, I didn't know 100 was considered so low! I did some research and knew that it wasn't particularly dangerous, just annoying. Some are strong enough to wake me up at night, and I was admitted to the emergency room a little over a month ago with chest pain and irregular heartbeat (that prompted the monitors). The ER did an EKG and took some x-rays and sent me to my primary doctor, who ordered this thing.
I really just need to know for sure that it is indeed PVC in case something comes up in the future. I'm leaving the country to teach and need to have documentation of everything just in case!
Yes, PVC's that occur in the absence of heart disease are supposed to be nothing to worry about. However, if you see an ep in follow up, they may have a couple of questions for you once you turn in the monitor. Usually, the first questions asked pertain to any risks of heart disease you might have. Big factors include unexplained chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty exercising or sedintary lifestyle, poor diet, overweight or smoker, lipids out of control, family history of heart disease before age 65, and so on. If you have risk factors, you'll probably need some testing. When I had this happen to me, my ep was quite concerned and suggested to me that I scale down my exercise until all testing was complete and evaluated with favorable results.
I would go to the doctor and get their input on your plans to travel.
By way of reassurance, I often have thousands of PVCs a day and my doctor is not concerned. I had a 24hr monitor a few years ago and didn't feel any - but it recorded 300, doctor not at all concerned. You are quite right to get these checked out though and it sounds like your Dr is being thorough and making sure they catch the palps so they know exactly what they are.
I don't think anyone has addressed your question, so I give it a shot. The recorder is always on and recording your heart's electrical activity. When you feel an event and press the button, the recorder jumps back a preset amount of time and commits that period along with a preset amount of future activity to a memory slot. When all the slots are filled. the recorder demands that you phone the event in, allows a reset which clears the slots for new recordings. So the memories slots are essentially snippet recordings of the main recording.
Thought of something else to add:
Because your recorder jumps back a period of time, when you feel an event, you can wait and see if you get any multiple events, things that might be "worthwhile" looking at. If you get a one off skip, you can choose to not press the button if you wish. If you feel multiple events, you can then hit the button, your recorder will jump back the predefined amount of time, and commit that segment of time to a memory slot.
You provider should have educated you more on the operation of the recorder. I knew its basic operation, what the presets were upon leaving. Consequently when I had an SVT event, the recorder (in my case) went into the auto-record mode, jumped back 2 minutes in time and caught the initiation of the event. It then recorded for three minutes before stopping. When I was able to convert it, about 10 minutes later, I hit the button after I slowed it which made the recorder again jump back two minutes and capture my heart converting. This information proved positive proof of my SVT and without a doubt served as the basis for my eventual cure.
It's always good to confirm what you're experiencing. Perhaps when your cardiologist said that he didn't see anything wrong in the 24hr. Holter, he dismissed the several hundred PVC's on the recording as inconsequential.
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