Is ECG monitoring important in non-cardiac areas?
ECG monitoring was initially employed in coronary care units during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it is more broadly applied in a variety of critical and non-critical care hospital settings. Moreover, while early monitoring focused on heart rate measurement and fatal arrhythmia detection in acutely-ill cardiac patients, current ECG monitoring has expanded to include diagnoses of complex arrhythmias, acute myocardial ischemia, and (pharmacologically-induced) prolonged QT intervals in real time also in non-cardiac areas of the hospital. Thus, cardiac monitoring is a useful, noninvasive diagnostic tool that assists clinicians not only in detecting life-threatening arrhythmias but also in early identification patients who need to be urgently treated due to the ongoing clinical deterioration. The purpose of this podcast is to provide a quick review for continuous ECG monitoring of patients hospitalized in non-cardiac areas, addressing its appropriate use and the expected clinical benefits.