Cardiovascular disease is what occurs when something in the heart blood vessel or its electrical activity isn’t working right. These diseases can be manifested in various types including as abnormal rhythms. There are many different types of abnormal rhythms of the heart. Atrial fibrillation is one such disorder, it is found in about 2.2 million Americans. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn’t pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results. About 15 percent of strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation.
ECG/EKG -Electrocardiogram monitors are devices which help health professionals to monitor electrical activity of the heart and detect any heart disease at an early stage. It is useful in patients who have irregular heart beat or abnormal heart rhythm like atrial fibrillation. Once, a patient has been diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm, they need to be monitored periodically. One of the main reasons is to prevent complications like stroke which can be debilitating especially in older age group.
One of the major disadvantages of these monitors was that any person who had to undergo these tests had to visit a hospital or a healthcare provider center to perform these tests. But, now with portability of devices; it is possible to perform these tests at home.
The small handheld devices enable people with abnormal heart conditions, to perform measurements of their heart electrical activity using these portable ECG device, and then take the results to their health care provider for evaluation. These portable ECG monitors are equipped with batteries and a small LCD screen which shows the hearts electrical activity. These devices are now advanced by adding “intelligence” which enables them to provide with features such as user alarms as well as performing local processing to detect the type of abnormal heart rhythms.
They could be connected to the individual persons through the leads like the conventional ECG device in hospitals, or through the person’s hand using finger tips. Unlike the conventional ECG recorders which require aid of trained technicians to connect the wires to your body, Portable ECG Device requires only the person who is using to connect. These devices can be used only as a screening tool mainly with patients having a family history of heart attacks or strokes or are being treated for a heart condition. It can only be used as a screening device in fitness center for monitoring of Rhythms or in hospitals for evaluation of drugs in large number of patients.
It has some limitations in that, it cannot be used as a replacement tool for conventional large ECG machines used in Hospitals and also it can be used in patients who have pacemakers installed in them and during pregnancy. The analysis of the results needs to been done by a qualified health care professional.
Despite these drawbacks, it is still quite a handy tool to be in one’s home especially in individuals with susceptibility to abnormal heart rhythms.