What Is Telemetry Monitoring: Principles of Monitoring the Heart Activity

telemetry monitor

Telemetry monitoring is a common practice of observing the electrical activity of a patient’s heart, which involves watching and analyzing data received distantly from its source. For this purpose, special telemetry equipment is used, particularly a telemetry monitor, which is a kind of a portable box (transmitter) that is attached to you, and whose main advantage is monitoring the patient’s heart rate and rhythm distantly within the monitor’s transmitting range, allowing the patient get up and move around, instead of just being confined to the bed.

In the context of cardiac monitoring, telemetry monitoring system is very advantageous for many patients, and is particularly valuable for patients going through a physical rehabilitation process, without interfering into the process. Telemetry monitoring allows a patient, who has to move a lot in order to recover fast, to pursue the recovery effectively, leveling down the need for his/her healthcare team consisting of technicians and nurses continuously monitoring your heart rate & rhythm and informing your doctor about your progress to give up the ability to monitor the hospital patient’s heart activity. So, how does this practice work in real?


Cardiac Telemetry Monitor: How Does It Work Or How Is the Monitor Attached?

telemetry equipment

The principle of telemetry monitoring is very simple and very valuable. The whole process lies in monitoring by the caregivers the electrical activity of the patient’s heart, and recording the way your heart is beating for an extended time. Recordings or data received or tracked by the telemetry monitoring system will show caregivers if there are any problems with the way your heart beats, and if any negative changes happen to a patient’s heart, a telemetry monitor will alert the nursing staff right away. For example, the system allows detecting electrical problems, like arrhythmias (heart beats too slow, too fast, or irregularly) or abnormal heart rhythm and respond immediately by sending an alarm and printing a strip for a doctor to review. Besides, telemetry monitoring is able to detect signs of an oxygen deficit in your heart, which increases the possible risk for heart problems.

The monitor is attached with five tiny wires to the electrodes, and taped to your arms, shoulders, and chest. Taking into account that the monitor is a small and portable box, it can easily fit into your pocket and doesn’t restrict your movement at all or prevents from using the restroom. And if a wire or patch happens to loose or come off, it can be easily reattached by someone from the nursing staff.


Telemetry Monitoring System: What Is It Needed For?

Telemetry monitoring may be needed if you are in the following conditions: in an intensive care unit, have or are at risk of having a severe arrhythmia, or have certain treatments or conditions able to cause arrhythmia, such as:

  • heart problems:
  • heart failure (heart can’t pump enough blood to satisfy the needs of your body);
  • acute coronary syndrome (heart attack or reduced blood flow to the heart);
  • pericarditis (swollen lining around the heart);
  • angina (poor blood flow to the heart causes chest pain);
  • automatic defibrillator or pacemaker (heartbeat-regulating devices that are placed in the chest);
  • lung problems:
  • pulmonary embolism (blood clot);
  • pulmonary edema (fluid build-up);
  • respiratory arrest (stopped breathing);
  • other health problems:
  • stroke (blood clot in the brain);
  • shock (considerably reduced blood flow throughout the body);
  • sepsis (bloodstream infection);
  • kidney failure (kidney don’t clean your blood);
  • serious trauma (major injury to the body);
  • changes in the electrolytes (your cells can’t send electrical signals);
  • fainting or passing out;
  • eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia).

Besides, your heartbeat may be monitored if the following medical treatments are needed:

  • surgery (when general anesthesia (puts to sleep) or conscious sedation (calms and reduces pain) are used in arrhythmia-correcting surgeries, monitoring is commonly used both during and after surgery);
  • blood transfusion (refilling the body with blood that was lost);
  • medicine monitoring (when you’re taking medicines to either stop or cause arrhythmias).

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