A transtelephonic monitor is a small electronic device used to record a patient’s heart rhythm. Unlike other ambulatory monitors, the transtelephonic monitor (TTM) does not continuously record the heart rhythm over a short period of time. Instead, it is given to the patient for an extended period of time (weeks to months) and activated by the patient at the push of a button. The data from the TTM is then transmitted via telephone line to Long Island Heart Associates.
Who Needs a Transtelephonic Monitor (TTM)?
A LIHA physician will determine if their patient is eligible for a Transtelephonic monitor. There are two types of patients:
- Pacemaker / ICD Patients. The TTM can be used by patients with a cardiac pacemaker or internal cardioverter defibrillator to perform regular check-ups over the phone. This allows the doctor to monitor the patient’s heart activity remotely and at the patient’s convenience.
- Patients with infrequently-occurring arrhythmias. Patients who experience symptoms of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) which occur too infrequently to be picked up by a standard echocardiogram (EKG) or other type of ambulatory monitor may be advised to use a transtelephonic monitor. The TTM is given to the patient for a long period of time (typically one month), and the patient activates the device when symptoms are occurring. Symptoms of arrhythmia may include dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath or heart palpitations.
How Does the TTM Work?
A transtelephonic monitor works by recording a patient’s heart activity at the push of a button. The patient will keep the device with them at all times, and attach it when arrhythmia symptoms begin to occur. There are two types of TTMs, each of which records and transmits data a little bit differently:
- The first type of TTM has an internal memory which records and stores the heart rhythm data when the patient pushes a button. After the cardiac event has occurred, the patient can transmit the data by phone to the doctor’s office when it is convenient. This type of TTM is more commonly used with patients who have infrequently-occurring arrhythmias.
- The second type of transtelephonic monitor does not have any memory, and so the data must be transmitted live over the phone. This TTM is used by placing it on the patient’s heart, and then placing the telephone receiver over the device and pushing a button to activate it. This type of TTM is generally used for pacemaker or ICD monitoring.