The cardiac monitor is a device that shows the heart's electrical activity as a wave pattern on a monitor. It is a bedside monitor.
The cardiac monitor continuously shows the cardiac rhythm and sends the electrocardiogram (EKG) tracing to a main monitor in the nursing station. Most commonly used in emergency rooms and critical care areas, cardiac monitoring allows for continual observation of several patients. Aside from monitoring cardiac patients, continuous monitoring is useful for observation of postoperative patients, patients with severe electrolyte imbalances, and other unstable patients.
Continuous cardiac monitoring allows for prompt identification and initiation of treatment for cardiac arrhythmias and other conditions.The monitor provides a visual display of the patient's heart rhythm, which is particularly useful information during heart attacks, when patients can develop lethal cardiac arrhythmias. The monitor sounds an alarm if the patient's heart rate goes above or below a predetermined number. An automatic blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter, which measures the oxygen saturation in the blood, are also included with some monitors.