Ambulatory ECG monitoring

What is an ambulatory ECG?

This is a simple recording of your heartbeat that requires you to wear a small monitor for 24 to 48 hours as an outpatient.

Why do I need to have this test?

Your doctor has requested that you have this simple, non-invasive test to monitor every heartbeat for 24 or 48 hours.

Preparing for the test

What should I do before the test?

We will be attaching 3 electrodes to your chest, so it is important that your skin is clean. You will be unable to have a bath or shower for the duration of the recording.

What should I wear when I attend for my test?

It is helpful to wear clothing that makes it easy to access your chest. A t-shirt, shirt, or blouse would be best.

What happens during the test?

You will carry out normal daily activities. If any symptoms occur, you will need to press the symptom button and describe the feeling in the diary sheet which you will be given. The technician will explain all the necessary instructions to you at your appointment.

Will I experience any discomfort or side effects?

On rare occasions patients can experience an allergic reaction to the electrodes. If this happens, the electrodes can be removed immediately.

How do I remove the monitor? 

After 24 or 48 hours you will disconnect the monitor by yourself. The technician will explain how to remove the monitor at your appointment.

Where do I return the monitor?

You will place the monitor and diary sheet into the provided envelope and return it to the Welcome Desk at the Main Entrance in Brunel Building, Southmead Hospital.

After the test

What happens after the test?

The results will be downloaded onto a computer and analysed by a Cardiac Physiologist.

When/how will I receive the results of the test?

The results will be passed onto the doctor that requested the test. You are usually told the results at your next clinic appointment, or a letter may be sent to your GP.

What will happen if I do not want to have this test?

If you do not have this test, we will not be able to pass important diagnostic information to the doctors. This may affect the medical treatment that you receive.

© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published June 2024. Review due June 2027. NBT002240

Ambulatory ECG monitoring