The long-term ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart over a longer period of time under everyday conditions. This enables the doctor to diagnose recurrent diseases. Electrocardiograms are usually recorded over a period of 24 hours (24-hour ECG).
If a doctor wants to create a continuous ECG, he or another healthcare professional sticks the electrodes on the patient's chest and connects them to an ECG recorder. It is small and compact and can be easily attached to a belt or worn around the neck. The data is stored on the memory card. With a long-term ECG, patients can go about their daily activities as usual.
Long-term electrocardiograms are usually evaluated with a computer. In this way, changes in heart activity (especially irregular heartbeat) can be detected in a very short time. Physicians review the electronic long-term ECG report. It records the lowest, highest and average heart rate, the basic rhythm of the heart and, if necessary, ECG changes that indicate a disease. The physician compares these values to the symptoms described by the patient and assesses whether the heart's response is appropriate or pathological.