Electrocardiographic monitoring in the hospitalized patient: a diagnostic intervention of uncertain clinical impact

Am J Emerg Med. 2008 Nov;26(9):1047-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2007.12.003.


Electrocardiographic monitoring, also known as telemetry monitoring or cardiac monitoring, focuses on the detection of clinically significant dysrhythmia. Although electrocardiographic monitoring has advantages and is undoubtedly invaluable in certain patients, significant overuse of cardiac telemetry monitoring does occur. The impact of this inappropriate use increases the cost of healthcare and can delay the admission process, an unpleasant burden which the hospital and its patients must bear. In addition, the liberal use of monitoring in unnecessary situations may give the hospital staff a false sense of security and/or desensitize them to alarms. In many instances, electrocardiographic monitoring may not be necessary. This article will review the literature regarding inpatient telemetry and its impact; furthermore, we will suggest high-yield criteria for its application among the inpatient population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chest Pain / diagnosis
  • Crowding
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Telemetry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Unnecessary Procedures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Unnecessary Procedures / trends