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Definition & Reasons For Conducting a Ambulatory an Electrocardiogram

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Definition

An electrocardiogram is a test that is used to check the electrical activity within heart muscles, which will reveal a healthy, working heart. The device can be found in most hospitals, especially in the intensive care unit to monitor people for cardiac activity. However, an inventor took this to another level and made the ECG machine portable as well. This ambulatory electrocardiogram is a Holter monitor called after its inventor. The ambulatory electrocardiogram holter monitor is very useful in detecting cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.

Reasons for Ambulatory Electrocardiogram

The human heart is part of the involuntary nervous system. This means that it does not receive signals from the brain to make it beat. Instead, electricity is produced from nerves near the muscles itself and when this electricity reaches a muscle, it contracts. This is a kind of binary mechanism of action with an on and off mode. The electricity that is created in one cell of a muscle is then transmitted to another in a wave formation. The movement of electricity is measured using an ECG by placing electrodes at specific places near the heart. Unfortunately, this limits the scope of measuring the heart’s muscles to only those zones where electrodes are placed. While ECGs are quite fascinating devices and are probably lifesavers, they are bulky and cannot be moved around; therefore, the advent of the Holter monitor - to provide a mobile alternative.

Ambulatory Electrocardiogram Device

The ambulatory electrocardiogram was initially designed to as a potable EEG or electroencephalogram but was found useful in measuring ECG data as well. The device has been around for a while and today is equipped with a flash drive to record cardiac activity over the course of a day. Over the course of our lives, there are many instances of the heart beat being suddenly more pronounced – like when we take a deep breath. This is not harmful but when the heart rate is below or above a certain number, or if the electrical activity in the heart is aberrant, one can go into a state of cardiac arrest. The ambulatory electrocardiogram measures irregular heartbeats that a suspect patient may experience through the day and records it for a cardiologist to analyze in detail later. The Holter monitor is not just exclusively used for humans and this device has even been customized for veterinary use as well. Once arrhythmia has been found, the next step is to find out what causes the problem. In the States, the leading cause of the problem is coronary heart disease.

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