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Ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) test

Gain fast access to an ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) test with a consultant cardiologist of your choice

Ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) test with a monitoring device on a man's chest
An electrocardiogram (ECG) test is a simple and painless test to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity. It helps diagnose and monitor conditions that affect your heart, including coronary heart disease, which happens when your heart's blood supply is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances.

An ambulatory ECG is when the test is done over a longer period of time so that your heart can be recorded as you go about your daily life. This can last for anywhere from one to 14 days. It's a non-invasive test that shouldn't affect you much at all during that time.

Your heart's electrical system

Your heart pumps blood around your body with every beat, sending the necessary oxygen and nutrients to the right parts of your body to keep you alive. To pump your blood properly, your heart relies on a network of cells, often referred to as the heart's electrical system. An ECG can detect the signals produced by your heart each time it beats to monitor your heart health and detect any issues with your heart.

If you think you might need an ambulatory electrocardiogram, you can book an appointment with one of our consultant cardiologists online or call us on 0141 300 5009.

The cost of an ambulatory ECG test with Circle Health Group starts from £265*

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your test and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over 10 months to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

You might need an ECG test if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness and fatigue

An ECG test can detect and monitor the following heart conditions:


These happen when your heart beats irregularly, too slowly, or too quickly. These abnormalities can cause discomfort that ranges from mild to severe. An arrhythmia is often a symptom of a heart condition, such as cardiomyopathy, or a heart attack. 

Coronary heart disease

This happens when blood supply to your heart is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances that occur over time. Coronary heart disease can be managed through certain lifestyle changes, such as exercise and weight loss.

A heart attack

This happens when blood flow to your heart stops suddenly. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and fast treatment is needed to ensure as minimal damage as possible happens to your heart.


This happens when the walls of your heart chambers become stretched, thickened, or stiff. It affects your heart's ability to pump blood around your body, often resulting in dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Not only can an ECG detect several heart conditions, it can also monitor your general heart health to understand whether a medication for a diagnosed condition is working, or how an already diagnosed condition is affecting your heart. 

There is no preparation needed for an ambulatory ECG test. You can eat and drink as normal before the test, and you do not need to make any lifestyle changes (such as weight loss or more exercise) before having it.

You will need to remove your upper clothing to have the test, and your chest might need to be shaved or cleaned for the electrodes to be properly attached to your skin. You will also be asked to remove any jewellery or objects that might interfere with the tests. 

An ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) test is a painless test that records the electrical activity of your heart for a period of between one and 14 days.

The test involves your consultant or healthcare professional attaching several small, sticky sensors (also known as electrodes) to your arms, legs, and chest. These are connected by wires to an ECG test recording machine, which shows your heart rhythm and electrical activity as an electronic graph, or sometimes printed on paper.

During an ambulatory ECG, the recording machine will store information about your heart electronically. It will be small and portable (no larger than a mobile phone), and you will be required to wear it at your waist to monitor your heart at home for up to 14 days.

During this time, you will be encouraged to continue with life as normal and perform your everyday activities such as work, shopping, and exercise, just as you would otherwise. The monitor can be removed to bathe or shower, and your consultant will show you how to take it off and how to put it back on afterwards. You may be asked to record the times when you experience any unusual symptoms in a diary for your consultant to compare with the recording results after. The monitor will record all your heartbeats within the time of the recording.

An ambulatory ECG is one of three main types of ECG tests. The type of ECG you have will depend on your symptoms and how they are triggered. The two other most common types of ECG are:

A resting ECG test

You will be lying down in a comfortable position and resting as your heart is monitored.

A stress or exercise ECG test

This is carried out while you're using an exercise bike or treadmill to monitor your heart when you are active

Who performs an ECG test?

All types of ECGs can performed by a cardiac physiologist, a consultant cardiologist, or even your GP. At Circle Health Group, we offer ambulatory ECGs with our experienced consultant cardiologists, who are familiar with a plethora of heart health conditions and how to effectively manage and treat them.

How long does the procedure take?

Applying the electrodes and attaching the monitor to your waist should take less than 15 minutes. How long you need to wear the monitor will depend on your personal circumstances and symptoms, and your consultant will let you know ahead of time.

Your results will be stored in the portable ECG machine. A report of these results will be produced and assessed after your time wearing it has come to an end. You will not be able to get your results on the same day of returning the monitor, but you should have them within two days. You will be able to discuss the findings with your consultant in detail at your follow-up appointment. 

After analysing your results, your consultant will be able to determine if you have any heart rhythm problems, heart conditions, or symptom triggers. They will provide you with detailed information about your diagnosis, as well as treatment options and which would work best for you.

Do you have a recovery period?

There is no recovery period following an ambulatory ECG test, because the test is non-invasive and has no major risks. You might have minor discomfort (similar to when removing a plaster or bandage) after removing the electrodes, but this should resolve naturally. 

You will be able to return to your normal daily activities on the same day as having your monitor removed and your results analysed.

There are no real risks associated with an ambulatory ECG, because it is not a procedure, but a test to record and monitor your heart health.

As mentioned above, you might have minor discomfort (similar to when removing a plaster or bandage) after removing the electrodes, but this should resolve naturally. 

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in June 2022. Next review due June 2025.

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