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Portable ECG Monitor - How to buy one for Home Use

Purchase a EKG Monitor?

personal ecg monitor

ECG monitor is a medical device for recording the electrical activities of the heart from electrodes or reusable clips placed on the skin in specific locations. To get a complete picture of the activities, some ECG uses 12 leads, six limb leads and six precordial leads. For home use, a two-lead system is sufficient and they can be used to take readings at different locations.

When buying a portable ECG home machine (EKG), you should not base your decision on prices and brand names only. When we researched and selected EKG monitors for sale, we discovered some high quality units at significantly reduced prices. Determine your own needs first, such as required features, affordability, and budget.

There are many types of home ECG/EKG monitors for sale on the market, from tens of thousands to a few hundred dollars. The more expensive ones are used mostly in hospitals and major medical clinics. They are part of a comprehensive system for monitoring a patient's vital signs. For a high quality portable EKG home monitor, it starts at under $200. This article focuses on personal ECG monitors primary for preliminary patient screening, home and nursing home use.

EKG does not directly show the actual functioning and movement of the heart; ECG measures the electrical activities which give good indications of a heart's performance. It is common for a normal heart to have abnormal ECG readings.

Accuracy and reliability : The primary purpose of ECG is to measure your heart's electrical activities. The key selection criterion is to find one that produce accurate results within its operating range in a reliable and consistent way. ECG monitors generally use similar mechanisms for reading data and differ in material used and manufacturing.

If you need an accurate reading, you should validate your ECG monitor by comparing it with others, such as those in your doctor's office or medical clinics. Most units can take a reading within a minute or two.

Portability and size : Since you want to take measurements within a moment's notice, you do not want to lug it around. All portable personal EKG monitors are compact and similar to the size of a small blood pressure monitor. A prime example is the portable home EKG monitor MD100A1.

Ease of use : Most monitors are simple to use and should not be a factor. Some monitors place one electrode against the left bare chest, which may cause some inconvenience.

Major functionalities : Here are some items that you should consider when selecting a ECG monitor. Different people have different needs. Consider those that are important to you.

  • Memory: Save previous readings and timestamps; generate various statistics. Some ECG monitors have built-in memory, while others require SD cards. This is important if you want to show the readings to your doctor later.
  • Ways to take measurements: Electrical impulses in the heart start in the sinoatrial node and travel through the intrinsic conducting system to the heart muscle. The signals cause the myocardial muscle fibers to contract and relax causing the pumping action. The electrical waves are captured with electrodes or clips placed at specific points on the body. Each electrode pair measures the electrical activities from different angles reflecting activities of different parts of the heart muscle. Some EKG monitors can only take measurements between right hand and lower left chest; while some can also take measurements between right and left hands giving an additional perspective.
  • Types of electrodes: The most convenient is to use the electrodes on the surface of the monitor. One do not have to mess around with the cables. When this is not feasible, one should be able to use cables to connect the electrodes to the monitor.
  • Detailed analysis report: Besides showing the waveform, the ECG monitor would displays various measurements (heart rate) and an interpretation of the reading, such as normal, irregular heart rhythm, occasionally double heartbeat period, bradycardia...etc. Different ECG monitors provide different levels of interpretations and some are more refined than others. This interpretation is based on some predefined criterions. Make sure you understand these criterions and their implications before making any assumptions.
  • Measurement mode: Continuous and single. Some monitor cannot do continuous monitoring.
  • Measurement time: Most monitors require 30-seconds to take one measurement.
  • Display: The display must be clear and large enough for you.
  • Computer interface: Save readings to a computer for further analysis by you or your doctor.
  • Software program: Analyze and manage the data.

Other features : There are other features, non-essential, but will assist you in using the ECG monitor:

  • Multi-person memory: Save readings for more than one person.
  • Appearance
  • Ease of storage
  • Accessories: storage case, log book, battery

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