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Cardiac telemetry is a way of continuously monitoring your child’s heart while they are in hospital. A portable battery-powered device called a telemetry unit collects data to display on a hospital monitor at your child’s bedside. This data may also be displayed at a central staff station.
Your child can carry the telemetry unit around with them in a bag, which means that they are able to move around the ward (if the doctor has given them permission).
Cardiac telemetry is used to monitor:
Each unit has five different coloured leads that are attached to stickers (electrodes) on your child’s torso. These leads pick up electrical signals from your child’s heart and send them to the telemetry unit. The electrical signals show up like waves on hospital monitors, and help nurses
and doctors assess your child’s heart rhythm, identify changes and respond to any abnormalities.
Notify your nurse if your child has any chest pain, discomfort, sweatiness or nausea.
If it’s OK with your child’s doctor, your child can get out of bed and move around with the unit. Your child can be monitored anywhere on the ward.
It is important that you and your child inform nursing staff when leaving the room or going to the bathroom so they know where your child is if there is a change in their heart rhythm. Be aware of the following when your child moves around with the unit:
Never leave the ward unless you have permission from your cardiology doctor.
How long will my child need to be monitored?
Your child will be monitored until their condition is stable
and it is safe for them to be off continuous monitoring. Your child’s doctors
will make this decision.
Can the leads cause irritation to my child’s sensitive skin?
Your nurse will assess your child’s skin and
replace the electrodes on a daily basis. Regular care to ensure clean and dry
skin helps the electrodes to stick to the skin easily. If your child has skin
treatments (e.g. steroid creams for eczema), these can still be used during
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Cardiology department. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed October 2018.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.