If you have ever felt a jump or sudden stall in the rhythm of your heart, you may have experienced what is known as an arrhythmia. Millions of Americans experience these little hiccups every year with no harmful side effects. However, if you feel the symptoms of an arrhythmia often and for long periods of time, the arrhythmia may be an indication of a serious underlying heart problem.
To confirm the diagnosis of an arrhythmia, your doctor may have you use an ambulatory cardiac monitor, such as an event monitor or a Holter monitor. Event monitors and Holter monitors are small electronic devices that monitor and record the electrical activity in your heart through electrodes that are placed on your body. A Holter monitor is usually ordered by a cardiologist when a patient is experiencing symptoms frequently. A Holter monitor is for short-term monitoring, usually 24-48 hours. An event monitor may be ordered by a cardiologist when the patient experiences symptoms infrequently or may not feel any symptoms at all. An event monitor is for long-term monitoring, up to 30 days.
While the cardiac monitor is attached, you will go about your regular activities, and return the device to your doctor or the cardiac monitoring lab at the end of the procedure. The data taken from the monitor about when arrhythmias occur and where in the heart they are coming from can help your cardiologist diagnose and treat any problems.
While a patient is wearing an event or Holter monitor, here are a few important details to keep in mind to ensure the monitor gets a clear reading:
- Prepare Your Skin for the Electrodes: Proper preparation of the areas of your chest where the electrodes will attach is essential for good ECG recordings. Follow the instructions given to you at the doctor’s office or from the monitor’s user guide.
- Always Wear the Monitor: Wear the monitor and keep it turned on 24 hours a day, every day, for the entire length of your prescribed procedure, during all your normal daily activities except those that involve water. Do not get any part of the monitor wet.
- Record Activities in a Diary: This will help your doctor understand the activities surrounding the arrhythmia, which can lead to a diagnosis on what causes them. Some monitors have built-in verbal and manual diaries.
- Avoid Things that Create Interference: This includes magnets, microwaves, electric blankets, cell phones, and MP3 players.
- Follow Instructions: It’s very important to follow the instructions provided in the monitor’s user guide and from your doctor.
Medicomp specializes in providing customers with event and Holter monitors that make heart monitoring easy and accurate. Contact us today at 800-23-HEART to find out more about our ambulatory cardiac monitoring solutions that will help you live a healthier life. You can also browse our blog to learn more about the different kinds of cardiac monitors and how they help doctors diagnose arrhythmias.
Medicomp, Inc. has always been at the forefront of innovation in medical technology. Every step forward has brought forth more convenience, efficiency, and quality health care to patients. Now Medicomp, Inc. is proud to announce the pending release of their latest industry leading patch-style cardiac event recorder system.
The new system will offer patients their Holter monitoring, event monitoring, and mobile cardiac telemetry on one compact device. Medicomp’s clinical monitoring centers are staffed 24/7/365 to provide patients with one-of-a-kind care and attention through multi-diagnostic parameters into a single patient picture. Combining this with its industry leading battery life, flexible wear options, and customizable physician reporting options, it is not hard to see how the new patch raises the bar on patient care and convenience.
As with all Medicomp devices, the patch incorporates Medicomp’s patented Diogenes algorithm. The Diogenes algorithm is the only ambulatory cardiac monitoring technology on the market to provide rate, morphology, rhythm, and P-wave analysis. It is this algorithm that puts Medicomp and its devices ahead of the competition and provides patients with the best cardiac monitoring experience.
Tony Balda, the President and CEO of Medicomp, says that the company is always seeking new avenues that will expand mobile health and improve patient experiences. With the introduction of the new patch monitoring system, patients will be able to comfortably continue their everyday activities while receiving the best diagnostic care Medicomp has to offer.
The patch is scheduled for release later this year.
Medicomp is recognized as a technology leader in the cardiac event recorder industry. Since its founding in 1981, the company has pioneered the latest innovations in developing new applications and devices that improve the precision and convenience of patient care. To learn more about the industry-leading devices and medical services that Medicomp has to offer, call us at 1-800-23-HEART or browse the MedicompInc.com website today.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of serious heart arrhythmia’s, and an estimated 2.7 million Americans live with atrial fibrillation and require arrhythmia monitoring. Heart arrhythmia’s are irregularities in the natural rhythm of the heart, and atrial fibrillation specifically occurs when the electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart cause them to quiver instead of contract smoothly. People afflicted with atrial fibrillation have increased risks of suffering a heart attack or stroke, which is why proper diagnosis and treatment is so important. However, a recent report from Brown University suggests that about 15 percent of atrial fibrillation patients cannot accurately measure the duration of arrhythmic episodes, and that the cause may be linked to the patients’ mood.
The report published in Heart Rhythm said that 458 outpatients with documented episodes of atrial fibrillation were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their arrhythmia episodes they experienced over the course of a week. This questionnaire specifically asked patients about the symptom and severity of each episode with self-estimates of their predominate heart rhythms. The results of the questionnaires were compared to the ECG monitoring the patients receive during the same seven days.
Remarkably, 85 percent of the patients were quite accurate in describing their perceived predominate heart rhythms. The remaining 15 percent either overestimated or underestimated the stress of atrial fibrillation they were actually experiencing. Overestimating was linked to the psychological condition of the patients in question while underestimating was linked to the older age of those patients. Since anxiety and depression are common in sufferers of atrial fibrillation, the report suggests that doctors use caution when relying on patient reports to assess the seriousness of their condition. This report can help doctors understand why there is discrepancies in patient reports that can lead to better treatment for the patient.
To find out more about atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia monitoring, browse the Medicomp, Inc. website or call 1-800-23-HEART to speak to one of our representatives.
Ludwig van Beethoven, to this day, remains one of the most influential and famous composers of all time. His work resonates into our own modern culture and many enjoy listening to his music as the masses did when he first composed them. Even as his hearing deteriorated in the later years of his career, Beethoven was still able to compose some of his most admired work. Recently, some who have studied his compositions, believe if Beethoven was able to wear a cardiac monitoring device, it would prove that he did suffer from heart arrhythmia.
The abnormal heart rhythm some experts think Beethoven suffered from could have acted as inspiration for some of the music he composed, and the clues, they say, can be found in the music. There are no confirmed medical records of Beethoven having a heart condition, because medicine lacked the technology we have today, but that hasn’t stopped curious scientists from examining his work to see what is hidden in the notes. Zachary Goldberger, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington, is one such scientist that decided to delve into the music to hear what it had to say.
Goldberger examined some of Beethoven’s pieces that he believed was affected by a possible arrhythmia: Piano Sonata in E-Flat major composed in 1810, Piano Sonata in A-Flat major composed in 1821, and Cavatina of the String Quartet in B-Flat major in 1825. Goldberger found that each of these works had evidence of musical notes suddenly changing the rhythm of the piece just like an arrhythmia suddenly changes the rhythm of the heart. For example, during the final movement of Cavatina, an emotionally charged piece, the key suddenly changes to a C-Flat major. This sudden change throws off the rhythm and evokes dark emotion including what can be described as a shortness of breath to the listener, a common symptom of heart arrhythmia.
To learn more about the technology available to us today, that Beethoven didn’t have, browse the Medicomp, Inc. blog to learn more about heart arrhythmia and cardiac monitoring.
Smart phones are powerful electronic devices that have become an iconic part of American culture. It is hard to find many people without one, which is why companies and entrepreneurs alike are jumping into the mobile app market. They have found innovative ways to turn smartphones into an all-in-one electronic device and that includes creating apps for cardiac event monitoring and medical purposes. One of the apps they have developed is a heart rate monitor.
How Exactly Does the App Work? The heart rate monitors in question are set apart from the ones that simply ask you to count how many heartbeats you can detect per minute. Using the flash and camera features on the smartphone, the app can actually read your heartbeat. Every time your heart beats, it sends a pulse of blood throughout the body. This pulse causes the capillaries in your skin to expand and cause the color of the skin to change slightly. When the flash illuminates the skin the camera it is able to detect these changes, and the app takes the information in the series of images to determine the user’s heart rate.
What is the Advantage of This? Being able to know your heart rate at any time has several advantages. Knowing your heart rate can alert you to potential heart problems if it is beating faster or slower at a time that does not call for it. Athletes can also use their heart rate to determine if they are at their peak pace to maximize the benefit of their workouts.
What’s Next? This is just the beginning. Currently this method of heart monitoring is inconvenient compared to heart rate monitoring specific devices because it requires you to sit still for a moment to let the camera take the photos. You cannot monitor the activity of your heart while you are performing specific activities to see how it works under stress.
However, new heart monitors prescribed by doctors can connect to their own smartphones through a special app so doctors can monitor their patients’ activities while they wear the cardiac event monitor. To learn more about these monitors and the future of heart monitors, browse the Medicomp Inc. blog today.
The more we understand about how the heart works, the better cardiac monitoring devices become. A new mathematical model helps researchers better understand atrial fibrillation, which is a misfiring in the electrical impulses of the heart that throw off the natural rhythm of the heart. The chambers of the heart lose their ability to smoothly transfer blood into and out of the heart.
For most people these episodes can happen without notice or any reason to worry. However, in aging individuals and for individuals with particular health risks like obesity and high blood pressure, atrial fibrillations can have serious consequences. Atrial fibrillation is the leading cause of strokes. This is why electrophysiologists, people who study the electrical rhythm of the heart, are always trying to learn more about what causes atrial fibrillation and how to treat it.
A new mathematical model of cardiac muscle tissue could bring new understanding about atrial fibrillation. Scientists created this model to help pinpoint specific regions of the heart that cause fibrillations by revealing disturbances in the impulses on a cellular level. When cells in the heart receive the electrical impulse, they react by contracting. The natural rhythm of the heart creates a smooth wave of contractions in the model as the impulse excites the cells down the line. If a cell fails to contract, it can create a wave in the opposite direction. When enough cells are doing this because of a weakened connection in the line, the wave will become more like a series of chaotic ripples.
Researchers and physicians hope to use this information to make it easier to find the problematic parts in the heart and destroy them. Once the irregular cells are destroyed, normal heart rhythm would resume and the patient’s risk for heart problems such as stroke goes down. Unfortunately this will not be as easy on patients who have had the condition for a long period of time, but this new understanding is a step in the right direction for the future of cardiac monitoring.
To learn more about atrial fibrillation and its effects on the heart, browse the visit the Medicomp, Inc. blog today.
Medicomp’s commitment to advancing the science of patient monitoring means staying abreast of all things heart related and sleep is absolutely connected to your heart’s health. Heartbeats are controlled by electrical impulses that cause the muscles of the heart to contract. These impulses work to create a rhythm that pumps blood throughout the body. When the rhythm beats at a normal pace, the heart can effectively distribute oxygenated blood throughout the body.
Atrial fibrillation is when the electrical impulses coming from the top left chamber of the heart go haywire. The result is a lack of coordination in the muscles of the heart and a deprivation of blood being delivered throughout the body. These can be felt as a fluttering feeling but often occur without notice.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for the development of atrial fibrillation. It is defined by pauses in breathing during sleep that typically last between 20 and 40 seconds. These pauses are caused by obstructions in the airway usually by the relaxing of the soft tissue in the throat to collapse. When the brain becomes deprived of oxygen during these pauses, it sends the signal to release adrenaline through the body. The increased blood pressure and heart rate will attempt to properly distribute oxygen through the body.
The long term affects of obstructive sleep apnea is that the increase of blood pressure and heart rate during these adrenaline rushes will wear down the vessels and muscles of the heart. In addition to the physical damage, the brain loses the true rest it needs while sleeping and can lead to fatigue and disruptions in fat metabolism, increasing the amount of stress on the heart. The accumulating damage will weaken the heart to become susceptible to atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for stroke. Thankfully, once it is diagnosed, atrial fibrillation and the resulting risk factors can be mediated by healthy lifestyle choices and medications prescribed by a physician.
To learn more about atrial fibrillation, browse the Medicomp, Inc. blog today.
February is American Heart Month, a time to focus on raising awareness about heart disease. Despite advances in medicine, heart disease is still the number one killer of men and women in America. Doctors say that prevention is the best solution to combating heart disease. In honor of American Heart Month, Medicomp has compiled important information that will help you keep your heart at its healthiest.
The risk of suffering heart disease can be significantly reduced by making some simple lifestyle changes. Adding activities to or subtracting activities from your daily schedule can be all that is needed to maintain a healthy heart. These changes include:
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing cholesterol and sodium intake
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods
- Stop smoking
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid stress inducing situations
Some people have higher chances of suffering heart disease due to preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, so make sure you are staying in touch with your doctor to keep it under control because diabetes can cause significant heart damage if not cared for properly.
Genetics can also be a big factor for your risks for heart disease. Check your family’s medical history to see if heart disease is prevalent and talk to your doctor about steps you can take to reduce these factors.
Know the Signs of a Heart Attack
Recognizing the onset of a heart attack is important to receive the required medical treatment as soon as possible. Heart attacks can occur without the sufferer realizing it because it does not always appear to cause enough trouble to warrant a hospital visit, but the damage to the heart is still done. These are the major symptoms of a heart attack:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the arms, jaw, back, upper body or upper stomach
- Cold sweats
Remember to seek medical help if you feel these symptoms and suspect a heart attack is occurring. To find out more about American Heart Month, browse the Medicomp Inc. blog.
If you are experiencing fluctuations in the rhythm of your heart, you’re probably experiencing the presence of a heart arrhythmia. While harmless in most cases, a regular pattern of heart arrhythmia can suggest there’s a harmful, underlying heart problem. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, your doctor has a variety of tests at their disposal to diagnose your arrhythmia.
If there’s no clear underlying condition that’s causing your arrhythmia, then your doctor will likely conduct one of these tests specifically for diagnosing the condition. There’s also a chance you may need a arrhythmia monitoring device if the tests indicate you have arrhythmia.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) – An ECG is designed to detect and record the electric impulses of your heart. To do this, doctors will attach electrodes to your chest and/or limbs. These sensors will then detect the timing and duration of each heartbeat, which the ECG records. ECGs are becoming less common in practice due to the inconvenience of an overnight stay at the hospital attached to the machine.
- Holter monitor – Essentially the same as an ECG but in a portable form. Doctors will give you the device with instructions on how to handle it and tell you to record your activities in a journal for the doctor to compare with the electrical signals later. This test usually last for no more than a few days.
- Event monitors– Similar to Holter monitors, event monitors are given to patients with sporadic arrhythmias. When you begin to feel symptoms coming on, you simply attach the electrodes and let the monitor record the event. This lets your doctor see the electrical signals at the time of the event.
- Echocardiogram – Instead of picking up electrical impulses like the ECG, this handheld device uses sound waves to create images of your heart’s structure and motion.
All of these tests are extremely noninvasive and can easily diagnose a heart arrhythmia. To find out more about Holter monitors and arrhythmia monitoring, visitMedicomp Inc. today.
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If you noticed that the color red was prevalent February 6th, it wasn’t because Valentine’s Day was near. The American Heart Association launched the Go Red for Women campaign in 2003 to help raise awareness and raise money to combat this issue. Now, on the first Friday of February, women wear red dresses as a symbol to the fight against heart disease in women. American Heart Month is all about raising awareness for heart disease because heart disease is the number one killer in America with one in three women who have died did so from heart attacks and strokes.
There has been tremendous progress and success since the first National Wear Red day. The movement has changed the lives of women across the country through education, research, and everyday lifestyle changes. Here are the statistics that the American Heart Association has reported as a result of the Go Red for Women campaign:
- About 90% of women have made at least one healthy lifestyle change
- More than one-third have lost weight
- More than 50% have increased the amount of exercise they do
- 6 out of 10 have changed their diets
- More than 40% have checked their cholesterol levels
- About one-third have talked to their doctors about heart health plans
- Nearly 300 fewer women die of heart disease each day
- Death in women has decreased by more than 30% over the last decade
While these statistics are encouraging, there is still more that can be done. Prevention has always been the best cure for heart disease, and about 80% of cardiac events can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes. The Go Red for Women campaign has been and will continue to be an important player in the fight against heart disease in women.