What is a 24, 48 or 72-hour tape monitoring?

A 24, 48, or 72-hour tape is a prolonged ECG (electrocardiogram) recording, widely used for monitoring a patient’s heart rate and rhythm over a time period. This test can pick up on heart rhythm problems which do not show themselves often or have not been detected by a standard ECG.

The test involves three or more electrodes (stickers) being applied to your chest which are connected by wires to a small recording device. This device will record your heart rate and rhythm for the entire duration of the recording.

Before your appointment

Prior to your appointment, please:

  • Continue to take any medication as normal.
  • Consider wearing a loose-fitting top.
  • Contact us before your appointment if you require a male or female cardiac physiologist, and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

How is a tape monitor fitted?

 In most cases it will be possible for a friend or relative to accompany you during your fitting with the cardiac physiologist. The fitting normally takes up to 15 minutes.

During your fitting you will be:

  1. Invited into a private consultation room where you will be asked to undress to the waist and lie on a couch on your back.
  2. The cardiac physiologist will prepare your skin for the device by gently exfoliating a small area of skin and then cleaning the same area with an alcohol wipe. This is to ensure the electrodes (patches) connected to device stay in place.
  3. Three electrodes will be attached to your chest and connected to a small light weight monitor.
  4. You will be given a diary to note the date, time, and any symptoms you experience while wearing the monitor. When recording the time, it is important to use the time that is displayed on the front of the monitor.

After your appointment

Once the tape monitor is fitted you can get dressed and you are free to leave. The monitor must be always kept dry so do not swim, shower, or take a bath with the monitor attached to you.

If you are wearing the monitor for 48 or 72-hours, you will be given spare electrodes so you can take a shower or replace the stickers if they peel off. You must replace the electrodes and reconnect the wires in the same place as it will affect the recording if they are placed in the wrong area.

It is important that you return the monitor at the date and time given to you by the cardiac physiologist so they can be made available to other patients. Your result will be sent to your referring doctor in time for your next appointment with them.

To meet the increasing demand for ECG’s we have contracted with a third party. This means your data from the test will be pseudonymous and de-identified for analysis by the third party. Once the data has been analysed it will be returned to us for re-identification through a unique number and added onto your patient record.

Risks and side-effects

The stickers used can cause a skin reaction. If you have an allergy to skin adhesive (glue) or plasters, please let us know.