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What's a Cardiac Monitor?

Heart Monitor

A cardiac (heart) monitor is a piece of technology that tracks your heart’s activity. You wear the device for a period of time. Data from the monitor can help your doctor:

  • Understand the cause of symptoms like heart palpitations or pounding, fainting, or an irregular heartbeat
  • Help diagnose or monitor a heart condition
  • Determine which treatments may be most effective for you

Types of Wearable Heart Monitors

Some heart monitors are noninvasive. This means the device does not go inside your body. You wear it while you perform your normal activities and at rest.

Holter Monitor

A Holter monitor logs each beat of your heart for 24 to 72 hours (one to three days). There are chest electrodes  (conducting patches) attached to your skin by a technician, who then attaches the lead wires to a small recorder you carry in your pocket or a special pouch. You will be instructed to write down activities completed during the day and any symptoms experienced in a provided diary while wearing the device.

Your doctor will match the information you provide with the Holter monitor’s recordings. Because you wear the device for only a short time, it’s most useful if you have symptoms that happen multiple times a day.

Event Monitor

If you experience signs of an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) less often than once every 24 hours, your physician may recommend an event monitor.

You’ll wear this device each day for up to a month. Each time you experience a symptom, you push a button on the monitor to record the heart’s rhythm immediately. Your monitor might wirelessly transmit the information to a 24-hour monitoring center, or you may receive instructions about how to send the data over the phone.

Where Do I Get a Portable Monitor?

If your physician requests an external heart monitor, you can receive a Holter monitor or Event monitor at Palos Hospital in Palos Heights or Palos Imaging & Diagnostics at the Palos Health South Campus in Orland Park. If you have a current physician's order, please call 708.923.5300 to schedule your appointment for a heart monitor application.

Implantable Loop Recorder

A loop recorder tracks your heart’s rhythm for up to three years. Your doctor may recommend this option if other tests have not shown why you have symptoms like fainting, sensations, palpitations, or a fluttering or pounding heartbeat.

During a minor procedure, your doctor will place the device under the skin of your chest. Ask your provider how to prepare and what to expect for this procedure.

Follow-Up Care

You and your physician will use information gathered by your heart monitor to make decisions about your treatment plan. Based on your symptoms, test results, and other factors, you may receive:


  • Heart-Monitoring

Find a Doctor

Search online to find a doctor at Palos Health Cardiovascular Institute and schedule an appointment.

Doctor holding a red heart