Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) and Event Monitoring
When 24-hour outpatient cardiac monitoring (“Holter Monitor”) is inadequate to diagnose an abnormality in the cardiac rhythm, longer-term monitoring may be necessary. Some arrhythmias only occur very intermittently making them more difficult to diagnose. These monitors can be worn inconspicuously under one’s clothing and only need to be removed for showering, bathing or a dip in the pool!
Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) and Event Monitoring are able to provide cardiac monitoring typically for 1-2 weeks but in some cases may be worn for up to 4 weeks. Unlike a Holter Monitor which records every single heartbeat for 24 hours, MCT and Event Monitors only record (and store in their memories) abnormal cardiac rhythms. The devices are programmed to “look” for different arrhythmias. For example, the device might look for abnormally fast cardiac arrhythmias in a patient complaining of a racing heart. The device might be used to look for atrial fibrillation in a patient with a recent unexplained stroke. Monitoring for very slow heart rates or long pauses would be helpful for patients with lightheadedness or syncope (passing out).
The difference between MCT monitoring and event monitoring is that the event monitor results are not available until the monitoring period is completed. The advantage of MCT is that the cardiac rhythm is monitored continuously so if an arrhythmia is detected, it is downloaded and sent to your physician within 12-24 hours.
The findings of such studies may guide your physician in the best way to treat you. In some cases, anti-arrhythmic medications or a radiofrequency ablation may be needed to eliminate various types of rapid heart rhythms. If atrial fibrillation is discovered, you may need blood thinners to prevent a stroke. In the case of very slow heart rates or long pauses, a pacemaker may be indicated.