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  1. #1
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    Question Heart Rate Monitor Malfunction??

    hello, so yesterday I was went on a 20 mile ride with a group of 4 other people. I was doing a pull, and my heart rate sky rocketed to 243 bpm. my family says that sounds like someone having a heart attack. I'm only 18 and didn't know if that was normal. I was pulling an average of 22 mph for about 2 miles, but still, 243 bpm??? crazy! I was wondering if anyone else had this problem. I was thinking that it may be a malfunction of the device, a standard Garmin Heart Rate Monitor, but I have no idea. Here is a link to the ride and my heart beat should be visible.

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  2. #2
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    I doubt that your heart rate actually got that high. What will often happen with hrm' s is spikes due to electrical interference. Things like high voltage power lines can cause the hrm to jump like that. I have a trail I ride and in a couple of locations I can see a huge increase in my heart rate around 243 bpm even though I am riding very slowly. Also sometimes the strap and head unit can lose connectivity and when they reconnect it seems like your heart was beating faster.

  3. #3
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    Garmins are known to have spikes like this. It can be due to static from your shirt, sweat bridging the sensors and shorting them out, the strap malfunctioning, or just some random incident. Unlikely your hr went that high. If it keeps happening (or starts dropping out) you may need to replace the strap.
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    I was riding when my heart rate monitor went to "0". I thought I had died. My life began flashing before my eyes. I was thinking about all the things I had wanted to do and just not had the time. Dying turned out to be kind of like living so I rode the last 2 miles home. When I got home I took off the monitor band and saw that the battery cap was loose. I tightened it up and I was alive again.

  5. #5
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    From the ride link, your heart rate goes way up on downhills, when the speed is fast.

    It's been called "flapping jersey syndrome", where your jersey builds up static when flapping in the wind when there is low humidity. This triggers the strap sensors. Try holding your jersey away from your heart strap, and see if the heart rate goes back to normal.

    I used to get this a lot with my old Polar strap, but haven't noticed it with my Garmin strap. The Polar display would go from 140 to 215 within a few seconds.

  6. #6
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    Re: Heart Rate Monitor Malfunction??

    That happens to me all the time when I am going fast downhill. Just ignore it and don't worry about it.

  7. #7
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    It's possible for the heart rate to go that high if you had an episode of supraventricular tachycardia.

    How did you feel while your heart rate was that high, and did it suddenly go back to normal? This is common with AV nodal reentrant tachycardia.

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    Just take your own pulse and don't be worrying about SVTs or cardiac events. Occam's razor, don't jump to the least likely conclusion.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfonsina View Post
    Just take your own pulse and don't be worrying about SVTs or cardiac events. Occam's razor, don't jump to the least likely conclusion.
    He shouldn't worry about it, but should at least know that the heart rate can get that high. Of course, just checking his own pulse will clarify the issue.

    Yes, it is unlikely since he didn't mention feeling lightheaded, or feeling like his heart was going to pound right out of his chest.

    I first experienced it when I was 19 (I'm almost 54 now), and although I never had it treated, he may want to if he has it.
    Last edited by Favorit; 03-22-2013 at 06:37 AM.

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    I expect when you experienced SVTs, you knew about it and didn't have to look at it on your Garmin when you got home. The trouble here is that the OP is whipped into hysteria by a device, rather than a physical symptom. He is told he is having a heart attack by his family based on not what he felt, but what he saw. 18 yr olds are a bit suggestible.

  11. #11
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    I've owned at least 8 heart rate monitors, & probably some I've forgotten about. I've never had good luck with any of them. Friends of mine buy one & still use it after 10 years. I'd be delighted to find one that lasts longer than 6 months. I have no idea why. Anybody got any suggestions please feel free to let me know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile View Post
    I've owned at least 8 heart rate monitors, & probably some I've forgotten about. I've never had good luck with any of them. Friends of mine buy one & still use it after 10 years. I'd be delighted to find one that lasts longer than 6 months. I have no idea why. Anybody got any suggestions please feel free to let me know.
    Id like to get an answer too, want to purchase my first

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorit View Post
    It's possible for the heart rate to go that high if you had an episode of supraventricular tachycardia.

    How did you feel while your heart rate was that high, and did it suddenly go back to normal? This is common with AV nodal reentrant tachycardia.
    I had SVT until last year when I underwent a procedure to cure it last August. Believe me, if you have it, you will know it when SVT kicks in. For me, when SVT kicks in, the heart rate jumps up to 220-240 and I could feel the heart pounding against my ribcage. It usually happened in the beginning of the ride. I started noticing SVT when I started riding my bike in 2008. In the beginning, each SVT episode only lasted for few seconds. By last year, each SVT episode lasted for as long as 5 minutes! That's when I realized I needed to get it taken care of. It hasn't happened since the procedure.

    I have a Garmin 800 with HRM. The heart rate still spikes once in a while due to electrostatic. It's no big deal. I just ignore it.
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  14. #14
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    Some heart rate monitors show irregular readings like half or twice the real rate when the batteries are low.

  15. #15
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    My garmin did that to me last weekend. I knew it was incorrect, but its nice to have an explanation.

    Mine also does not seem to connect right away. It seems to only connect after I've been exercising enough to get the heart rate elevated. At first I put in a new battery thinking the problem was low power, but that didn't help. Anyone else run into this?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by igotyofire View Post
    Id like to get an answer too, want to purchase my first
    I've used a simple Timex watch/chest strap model for about 3-years. No problems. Cost was <$50. If you buy one of the unisex models, the watch body is a little smaller, and it'll mount more easily on the handlebar and take up less space. In case you don't want to wear it as a wrist watch while riding.

  17. #17
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    I have changed from polar (premium soft strap) on an f60 to the 500 with the premium soft strap, and the Garmin seems so much more reliable as long as skin and contacts are wet. Once I get a HR I never lose it, but as I am female and wear a bra I suspect it stays pretty moist under there, do blokes get more air movement and dry contact points? Anyway, moisture is good with HRMs.

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