Heart Monitors

Hi again. Is there anyone out there that uses their own heart monitor to track their symptoms? I read an interesting blog last night by a gentleman who recommends the Polar RS800CX monitor. It is a wrist watch with a chest strap that can record your activity up to 44 hours and you can look at the results on your computer and even take them to your doctor's visits. I am contemplating buying one on eBay (haha, it ends in 1-1/2 hours) but don't want to rush into it if it isn't worthwhile.

18 Replies

  • I think most regulars know my view that it is better to just get on with your life than look backwards by constantly monitoring symptoms. O K if you are trying to gather proof prior to getting a diagnosis then there is some merit in having a device which can document an event for your doctor. I don't know about most people but I know jolly well if something is going on and don't need a machine to tell me that.


  • I was told by my ep dr j clague at royal brompton only last week not to constantly monitor symptoms or take pulse not required and no need for a&e karen

  • I've got a Polar chest strap monitor, and also a MIO wrist (no strap) one as well, which was quite expensive. They work great, unless you'r in AF then they don't. The Polar jumps up to 200 and sticks there, but I know my heart rate is nothing like that (bit scary if you didn't know!), and the other one (which I bought because the Polar didn't work when in AF) does something else.

    That's pretty much what an EP said to us last year, i.e. that they can't work well with AF because they can't detect what is a heart beat and what isn't. On the other hand, when the Polar jumps up to 200 and stocks there, you at least know something's going on.

    I don't use either any more. They might come on E-Bay shortly :-)



  • When I was in hospital the registrar told me that part of the recuperation was NOT looking at the heart monitor.

    I totally agree with Bob.

    Be well.


  • I do use a ECG monitor every day but only as part of a trial. I have to take a recording for the next 9 months! I used to find it reassuring but now my heart is normal its boring...nothing to look at really! And all the weird and wonderful patterns I had after both ablations were all classed as normal! Damn! :-)

  • Dear Teecee, I bought an AliveCor monitor as tests I have had done still haven't picked up exactly what is going on. It was suggested by one of the Consultants I saw at my last appointment. I use it once a week to record ECG and have it at hand to use if I ever get symptoms where I feel faint and dizzy - hasn't happened for ages and hope I don't get symptoms again but if I do I hope I can capture what is going on for my Consultant!

  • I bought a suunto watch. It monitors my heart rate but it needs a chest strap to do it. I wear it when I bike and it gives a pretty accurate read out of your hr along the ride. It downloads to your computer. It doesn't work well in the water if you swim. However, if I have an episode while swimming I just stop and stand up and the watch will start recording my heart rate.I also started to keep a daily journal of when I have episodes. I write down what I was doing and what happened. I showed this chart to my rhythm specialist and he said "does it show rhythm?" . I said no. At that point he really wasn't interested

  • The Polar HRM you're considering is intended for fitness training, it monitors your heart rate, it doesn't record an ECG waveform. That's useful insofar as it tells you that there's something wrong, but you can do that without spending £300, a basic model like the FT1 is much cheaper.

  • I posted this before but it could still be of interest to some people if they have not seen this.

    I have atrial fibrillation and wanted a heart rate monitor. When in atrial fibrillation, from my limited knowledge, blood pressure machines give inaccurate readings for heart rate as do heart rate apps. My wife found an ECG device on the internet. It was designed by a bio-medical engineer and an electrical engineer for their father who is an American cardiologist who took the time to give me free advice about my atrial fibrillation. The device needs a few minor improvements to make it better but it works quite well for a $150 USD investment. It can be found at iheartrhythm.com. If purchasers use the promo code iheartca, they get a small discount. This device has been beneficial to me since it is the only way I found to know my true heart rate when in atrial fibrillation and when I come out of it. Unfortunately, the only medical staff who thought it worthwhile were the paramedics in the ER. Neither my EP specialist nor my family doctor seemed interested in the charts I had saved. To me it seems like some doctors only accept knowledge they have acquired and have little interest in patient input which could or could not be relevant. Discouraging patients who try to actively participate in their care seems counterproductive. My atrial fibrillation diagnosis experience was filled with deficiencies on the part of doctors which was very disappointing and is not the only instance of which I am aware. If doctors don’t consider data gathered by the patient, then a person with medical heart rate issues should only consider purchasing a suitable heart rate device for reasons such as; peace of mind, less visits to the ER, confirmation from their doctors that they will consider the information collected, comparison of AF events, etc.

  • My doctors won't even accept the data from THEIR OWN instruments when it doesn't fit their prejudice. I was laid in bed with a heart rate of 230 on the bedside monitor, and the nurses were told "Take no notice of anything he says, there's nothing wrong with him".

  • Shocking, where was this?

  • Broomfield.

  • Depends what you want to monitor, heart rate or rhythm? I have a cheap wrist monitor which just monitors heart rate and used it for when I was walking uphill or in the gym as I was told not to allow my HR go over 120. Obviously not in AF. To monitor heart rhythm I used the Alivecor and got brill results. I found it useful to monitor when in AF and my EP and GP thought it brilliant and very helpful. I found it reassuring but I know we are all different Bob!

  • Hi Dreamer! I have a few cheaper Polar wrist monitors that I use for exercise that I know won't be sufficient to track aFib episodes, but this is the article I found on the RS800CX that seems like it would.


  • My PAF was only taken seriously after I was loaned one to check my heart beat when feeling ill. It was a chest strap with wrist watch. I told my doctor what was happening and was rushed to a&e. After diagnosis I decided to buy one and also a finger pulse oximeter. I found the chest one not practical and hard to program. I also then read it was no good if you have AF... I also found I was being abit neurotic checking my HR. Like what had been mentioned in a previous reply...stop looking at the monitor. ..

    I went to the gym this week. First time for months as I want some of my life back. The machine HR monitor at times agreed with my finger one and one time was a big difference. 120-180. The finger monitor is handy to put in my bag for abit of reassurance ?? Not quite sure on that because the pulse can be good but the thumping in my chest says different.

  • With the exception of one cardiac nurse, I've found that clinicians dismiss heart monitor readings as being inaccurate and susceptible to electronic noise. I can get atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter in the gym so I've set the sample time on my Polar RS400 to one second; this picks up fibrillation but it doesn't differentiate between a high heart rate and flutter. Nevertheless, the display on the computer shows distinctive spikes of AF that correlate with the onset bpm during a Bruce protocol treadmill stress test. Having had three hospital admissions this year due to pulmonary toxicity, I have a small oximeter to check blood oxygen saturation. It has a version of a pleth display that shows the pulse profile - so it can show deviation from sinus - and, it has a pulse and saturation readouts. The oximeter is similar to one on Amazon UK priced at £18.99. If you're thinking about a Polar heart monitor - only worth buying if you do aerobic exercise - I suggest downloading the appropriate manual from the Polar web site, as you'll need to establish the sample rate before you buy. For example the RS400 has a default sample rate of 5 seconds but an option of 1 second.

  • Thank you all for your replies. Here is the article I found online that discusses using a Polar RS800CX to monitor aFib episodes.


  • Well my AliveCor hand held monitor arrived. Later that day so did my son and his partner so they decided to take it out and use it etc. (Boys & toys) ....Sons was a lovely healthy trace .....Partners ....well let's say she's now off to the Drs with her history. I'd say it's been a great success but I'm still treating it with caution !!! Ann

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