Taking a look at the latest trends in heart rhythm monitoring

Bulky recorders with lots of wires are being replaced by small patches and implanted devices.

Published: October, 2017

An abnormal heart rhythm — when your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular — can be tricky to detect and diagnose. These electrical misfires are often short-lived and sporadic, so they're rarely seen on a routine electrocardiogram (ECG), a 10-second recording of the heart's electrical activity.

Many heart rhythm changes are harmless, but some cause fainting or other worrisome problems — including stroke. That's why doctors often rely on portable ECG devices that record your heart rhythm for several days — or even up to a month. But they're a bit of a nuisance because of the many wires, and you must remove and replace the electrodes when you shower or bathe.

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