The electrodes need to be attached securely to your chest for a high-quality recording. You will need to change the patches regularly, for example, when you bathe or shower, or if the patches become loose. Cleaning your skin with alcohol will help the patches stick securely. You may also be provided with gel or paste that will help the electrodes stick to your skin.
Your doctor will give you instructions on where to position the electrode patches on your chest and how to attach the wires, or leads, that connect the electrodes to the event recorder.
Depending on the type of event recorder, you will clip it on your belt, wear it in a pouch around your neck or shoulder, or carry it with you. The event recorder will go everywhere you go, even during sleep.
While carrying the event recorder, it is important to participate in regular daily activities, especially if your heart problem typically occurs during those activities. Your doctor will tell you whether you should exercise and how vigorously. If you develop a symptom like dizziness, shortness of breath, palpitations or chest pain, stop whatever activity you are doing and press the record button. During the recording, remain still so that the event recorder will pick up only the electrical activity of your heart, not your movements.
Once the recording is complete, you will send the data to your doctor by telephone. Most event recorders require you to use a land telephone line for this transmission, although some companies supply patients with a dedicated mobile phone to use for transmitting the ECG data.
It is important to avoid getting close to anything that might interfere with the electrical signals that are transmitted between the electrode patches and the event recorder. These include:
- High voltage lines and powerful magnets
- Metal detectors
- Microwave ovens
- Electric blankets and heating pads
- Electric toothbrushes, hair dryers and razors
- Cell phones, iPods and MP3 players - keep these at least six inches from the monitor