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Cardiologist’s Review of Heart Monitors

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Zio Patch Heart Monitor

Millions of people suffer with feelings of heart racing, skips and thuds. 

As a cardiologist, I am frequently asked about the various tools we use to diagnose what these symptoms are from. One of the most important tools in our arsenal is the heart monitor. This device plays a crucial role in diagnosing and managing a range of cardiovascular conditions. In this review, I will discuss what heart monitors are, the different types available, their duration of use, and the indications for using them.

What Are Heart Monitors?

Heart monitors are devices used to record and analyze the electrical activity of the heart. They help in detecting abnormalities in heart rhythm, rate, and other cardiac parameters. The data collected by these monitors is invaluable for diagnosing conditions such as arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease, and other cardiovascular disorders.

Types of Heart Monitors

There are several types of heart monitors, each serving a specific purpose and offering unique features. The main types include:

1. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) Monitors

Resting ECG: This is the standard ECG performed in a medical office. Electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest, arms, and legs to record the heart’s electrical activity for a short duration, typically a few seconds to a minute. It provides a snapshot of the heart’s rhythm and can detect conditions such as atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, and other cardiac anomalies.

Stress Test ECG: This type of ECG is performed while the patient is exercising, usually on a treadmill or stationary bike. It helps assess how the heart responds to physical stress and can reveal issues that may not be apparent during a resting ECG.

2. Holter Monitors

A Holter monitor is a portable device that continuously records the heart’s electrical activity, usually for 24 to 48 hours. Electrodes are attached to the chest and connected to a small recording device worn on the belt or in a pocket. Holter monitors are particularly useful for detecting intermittent arrhythmias that may not occur during a standard ECG. The main issue is the wires and bulky battery / computer can be cumbersome. Cannot shower with the device. 

(Better suggestion is the Zio Patch monitor. More below.)

3. Event Monitors

Event monitors are similar to Holter monitors but are used for longer periods, often up to 30 days. They can be worn continuously or used intermittently. Patients activate the device when they experience symptoms, such as palpitations or dizziness. Some event monitors automatically record events when they detect abnormal heart rhythms.

4. **Implantable Loop Recorders (ILR)

ILRs are small devices implanted under the skin in the chest area. They continuously monitor the heart’s electrical activity for up to three years. ILRs are particularly useful for patients with unexplained syncope (fainting), infrequent arrhythmias, or cryptogenic stroke (stroke of unknown origin). They provide long-term data that can help diagnose elusive conditions.

I have implanted many of these in my career, but it is not often needed. 

5. Zio Patch (BEST OPTION for MOST PEOPLE)

The Zio Patch is a small, wearable device used to monitor heart rhythms continuously for up to 14 days. It is a type of ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) designed to detect and diagnose arrhythmias, which are irregular heartbeats that can cause palpitations.

Why the Zio Patch is a Great Choice for Diagnosing Heart Rhythm Issues:

1. Continuous Monitoring:

– The Zio Patch records every single heartbeat for up to two weeks. This extended monitoring period increases the likelihood of capturing intermittent or sporadic arrhythmias that might be missed with shorter monitoring methods.

2. Ease of Use:

   – The patch is small, lightweight, and discreet. It adheres directly to the chest and does not require wires or external devices, making it comfortable for the patient to wear during daily activities, including showering and exercising.

3. Shower-Friendly:

   – Unlike many traditional heart monitoring devices, the Zio Patch is designed to be water-resistant, allowing patients to shower easily while wearing it. This feature enhances convenience and ensures continuous monitoring without interruptions.

4. Comprehensive Data:

   – The device records every heartbeat during the monitoring period, providing a comprehensive dataset for analysis. This extensive data can help healthcare providers identify patterns and triggers for palpitations and other symptoms.

5. Patient Compliance:

   – Because the Zio Patch is less obtrusive than traditional Holter monitors, patients are more likely to comply with the monitoring regimen. The ease of wearing the patch increases the likelihood that patients will complete the monitoring period as prescribed.

6. Accurate Diagnosis:

   – The detailed recordings and advanced algorithms used in the analysis of Zio Patch data allow for accurate identification of various types of arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, and ventricular arrhythmias.

7. Convenience:

   – Patients do not need to make frequent visits to the doctor’s office during the monitoring period. Once the monitoring period is over, the patient simply mails the device back to the service provider for analysis.

Overall, the Zio Patch provides a non-invasive, patient-friendly, and highly effective means of diagnosing the underlying causes of palpitations and other heart rhythm abnormalities.

Buy a Zio Patch with a physician review here today and find out what’s going on. 

Duration of Monitoring

The duration of heart monitoring varies depending on the type of monitor used and the patient’s condition:

– Resting ECG: A few seconds to a minute.

– Stress Test ECG: Duration of the exercise session, typically 10-15 minutes.

– Holter Monitor: 24 to 48 hours.

– Event Monitor: Up to 30 days.

– Mobile Cardiac Telemetry: Continuous monitoring for several weeks or months.

– Implantable Loop Recorder: Up to three years.

Indications for Heart Monitors

Heart monitors are used for various clinical indications, including:

1. Palpitations

Palpitations are sensations of a rapid or irregular heartbeat. They can be caused by arrhythmias, anxiety, or other factors. Event monitors and Holter monitors are commonly used to correlate symptoms with heart rhythm abnormalities.

2. Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats that can be benign or life-threatening. Heart monitors help in diagnosing different types of arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and bradycardia. Identifying the type and frequency of arrhythmias is crucial for determining the appropriate treatment.

 3. Unexplained Syncope

Unexplained syncope, or fainting, can be a symptom of an underlying cardiac condition. Heart monitors, particularly Holter monitors and ILRs, help in identifying arrhythmias or other cardiac events that may cause syncope.

4. Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease, occurs when the heart’s blood supply is reduced due to narrowed or blocked arteries. Stress test ECGs help in diagnosing ischemic heart disease by revealing changes in the heart’s electrical activity during exercise.

5. Post-Myocardial Infarction Monitoring

Patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack) are at risk of developing arrhythmias. Continuous monitoring with Holter monitors or MCT devices can help detect and manage these arrhythmias early.

6. Monitoring Efficacy of Treatment

Heart monitors are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for arrhythmias, such as medications or ablation procedures. Monitoring helps in assessing whether the treatment is controlling the arrhythmia effectively.

Conclusion

Heart monitors are indispensable tools in cardiology, providing critical data for diagnosing and managing various cardiac conditions. From the standard ECG to advanced implantable devices, each type of monitor offers unique benefits tailored to specific clinical needs. Understanding the indications and appropriate use of these monitors helps ensure optimal patient care and outcomes. 

We think the best option is the Zio Patch monitor.

  • Easy to use
  • Peel off and send
  • Get your diagnosis

Buy a Zio Patch today and find out what’s going on. 

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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

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Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.