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Cardiothoracic Services

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Ambulatory Monitoring

Ambulatory Monitoring records either your heart rate and rhythm or blood pressure (BP) for between 24 hours and 14 days.

Prolonged ECG

Prolonged ECG Monitoring records your heart rate and rhythm while you go about your daily routine.

The equipment is about the size of a mobile phone, and either clipped to your belt or waistband or placed in your trouser or top pocket.

The leads of the monitor are attached via poppers to electrodes (stickers) that are placed on the chest in a specific pattern. The number of leads needed depends on the monitor used, but ranges from between two and 10.

You must wear the monitor for the entire recording period - when we fit it, we will tell you how long this will be.

Our monitors are not waterproof so please do not have a bath or shower, or go swimming during the recording period: if you have to have a bath or shower, please remove the monitor first.

You may have to press a button to record any symptoms you have during the recording period, and we ask you to fill in a symptom diary. This allows us to analyse your results in more detail.

For longer periods of recording you may have to change the electrodes yourself. This is quite easy - we will show you how, and give you a diagram to help you.

Common issues

If an electrode (sticker) falls off, or a wire detaches from the monitor, do not panic; reattach the sticker or lead as soon as possible.

Either press the electrode back on to your chest, or replace it yourself and reattach the appropriate wire according to the diagram provided.

You may need to dry the area under the electrode before reapplying one.

In most cases we will still be able to get readings during these times, but if more than one electrode or lead detaches there may be an issue.

If you have any concerns at all, please contact us.

Returning the monitor

At the end of the recording period you can either remove the monitor yourself or come to the department so we can do it.

When returning your monitor, keep the equipment intact and do not remove or cut any wires. You can discard the electrodes in your bin at home.

Do not try to turn off the monitor or remove the batteries. This can cause errors, or even delete the data entirely, meaning you have to do it all tagain.

Monitors are in high demand so please return your monitor as soon as possible. They are also expensive, so delays and non-returns are reported to our Legal Services team.

You must physically bring your monitor back to the hospital.

Monday to Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm you can return it to ECG reception.

Out of hours returns (JR only)

If you have to return a monitor outside our working hours please arrange this with our staff first.

The John Radcliffe Hospital has a drop off facility in Level 2 main reception - a family member or friend can return the monitor there for you.

You cannot post the monitor back, either to us or your GP, and we cannot collect it from you, so if you have difficulty returning it, please contact us.


Your results are sent directly to your referring clinician, who will tell you what they mean.

We cannot answer any questions about results in person or over the phone.

Find us and contact us

Please see Electrocardiogram (ECG) - Find us and contact us