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October 8, 1982

A Consumer's Guide to Computerized Arrhythmia Monitoring

Author Affiliations

From the Cardiology Division, Stanford (Calif) University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1982;248(14):1745-1748. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330140055035

THE IMPORTANCE of arrhythmia monitoring in the care of the cardiac patient is now well established.1,2,3 The use of computers in arrhythmia monitoring is also well established, with more than 1,000 hospital-based computerized arrhythmia monitoring systems currently in use throughout the world.4,5 Arrhythmia monitoring can be broadly divided into two distinct types—inpatient and ambulatory. Ambulatory arrhythmia monitoring is typically performed using a portable battery-operated tape recorder that records the patient's ECG during a 24-hour period. The tape recording is later scanned at high speed to detect cardiac arrhythmias for purposes of diagnosis and for documenting the efficacy of therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs. The patient typically is not hospitalized, and the detection and quantitation of arrhythmias are only useful for documentation purposes.

The purpose of inpatient arrhythmia monitoring is to detect and document cardiac arrhythmias as they happen so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Thus, the inpatient arrhythmia