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Telemetry Monitoring

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is telemetry monitoring?

Telemetry monitoring is when healthcare providers monitor the electrical activity of your heart for an extended time. Electrical signals control your heartbeat. The recordings taken during telemetry monitoring show healthcare providers if there are problems with how your heart beats.

Why might I need telemetry monitoring?

Ask your healthcare provider about these and other reasons you might need telemetry monitoring:

  • You have a heart problem, such as a heart attack, chest pain, or an irregular heartbeat.
  • You have a lung problem, such as a blood clot or fluid buildup in the lungs.
  • You have surgery with anesthesia or sedation.
  • You take certain medicines that regulate your heartbeat.
  • You have an injury, or are in shock.
  • You have a medical condition, such as a stroke or kidney failure.

How is telemetry monitoring done?

Healthcare providers prepare your skin by cleaning it. They place 3 to 12 electrodes (sticky pads) on your chest and stomach area. Electrodes may also be placed on your arms or legs. A wire is attached to each electrode. These wires are also attached to a small device. The device sends information about your heart's electrical activity to a monitoring station. A healthcare provider at the station constantly checks the information. He looks for problems or changes in how your heart is working. He can see if a problem occurs or if a problem is likely to occur.

How long will I have telemetry monitoring?

Telemetry monitoring may last from 24 hours to more than 72 hours. Healthcare providers will review your condition each day and decide if telemetry should continue.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have questions about telemetry monitoring.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • You may also have any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • You have weakness or numbness in your arm, leg, or face.
  • You are confused or have problems speaking.
  • You have a severe headache.
  • You lose vision in one or both eyes.
  • You are too dizzy to stand.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.