12. “Is there any way to tell how often I get A-Fib or how long the episodes last? What kind of A-Fib monitors are available? I have silent A-Fib (A-Fib without any obvious symptoms). It was discovered by accident when I was getting an EKG during a physical.”
Your doctor may use a Holter or an Event Monitor. A Holter Monitor records your EKG continuously, usually for 24 hours; an Event Monitor can be used for up to 30 days or longer. For a more in depth discussion about Holter and Event monitors, see my report A Primer: Ambulatory Heart Rhythm Monitors.
To monitor for A-Fib yourself, try a consumer, or DIY, sports heart rate monitor available from sporting goods stores. Used by runners and other athletes, they rely on the use of a chest strap to pick up the electrical signals from the heart and transmit to a special wrist watch.
On most you can program a high heart rate zone which you might enter only if you were in A-Fib. That way you could record when and how long you stayed in A-Fib and what your max heart rate was. Some have internal storage recording that can be download to your PC to view data in a graphic form.
We like the “Polar” brand. Check out the array of Polar brand heart rate monitors on Amazon.com. Other companies include Timex, Garmin, Acumen, Nike, and Cardiosport.