Cardiac means near, around, or part of the heart and "cardiac" comes from the Greek word "cardio" meaning pertaining to the heart.
A "Cardiac Monitor" is a special monitor specifically designed to count, display, and remember the number of times the premature baby's heart is beating as well as the baby's breathing patterns. When a premature baby's heart rate drops below 100 beats per minute or raises higher than 200 beats per minute an alarm will sound alerting the care givers of the problem. The care givers are able to observe the premature baby's breathing and heart at all times while the monitor keeps track of even the smallest changes.
The cardiac monitor resembles a TV screen with leads and electrodes coming out of the machine and connecting to the premature baby. The leads look like cables or wires coming from the machine and fastening to the electrodes, and the electrodes look like patches attached to your premature baby's skin. The screen graphs the gathered information in a wave-graph form with the vertical height of the waves showing the volt strength of each beat, and the horizontal width of the waves showing the time passing between each beat.
One kind of cardiac monitoring is an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) and it is used to detect problems of the heart such as skipped heartbeats, heart damage, vitamin, mineral & electrolyte imbalances, and overall health conditions of the heart. The electrocardiogram takes information from an electrocardiograph monitoring the patient, makes a graphic interpretation of the information, and prints out the information for easier reading and interpretation.
Another kind of cardiac monitoring is a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE), an ultrasound of the heart. An echocardiogram (ECHO) takes pictures of the heart, and is an excellent diagnostic tool for doctors to quickly assess many heart problems without invasive procedures. This machine monitors the heart valves, strength of heart muscle contractions, cardiac tissue, blood flow, and how quickly the blood is flowing through the heart.