What is a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and tape records your heart’s activity continuously for 24 hours. The device is the size of a small camera or smart phone. It has wires with silver dollar-sized electrodes that attach to your skin.
Why do I need to wear Holter monitors
Regular electrocardiograms (ECGs or EKGs) let your doctor look at your heart’s activity at one point in time during your ECG test. But abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac symptoms may come and go. That’s why your doctor may want to evaluate your heartbeat over time while you go about your normal activities. You may be asked to wear a Holter monitor if you have fast, slow or irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias
What are the risks of Holter monitors?
Wearing a Holter monitor has no risks and causes no pain. Holter monitors have wires that connect to small discs (electrodes) attached to your chest to record the electrocardiogram. Because the electrodes are attached with tape or adhesives, they may cause mild skin irritation. Tell the technician if you are allergic to any tapes or adhesives.
What should I expect with a Holter monitor?
A specially trained technician will attach the Holter monitor and instruct you how to record your symptoms while wearing it.The technician first attaches the electrodes to your chest. If you have a hairy chest, he or she may shave some hair off to attach the electrodes firmly.Once the electrodes are in place, the technician helps you put the Holter monitor on and explains how to take care of it. You can carry the monitor in a pocket or pouch, slung across your shoulders and neck like a purse or camera, or attach it to your waist.
- You cannot bath, shower or swim while wearing the monitor.
- It is recommended that you do your usual daily activities
The technician will show you how to keep a diary of your activities and symptoms during the test. It’s important to keep an accurate diary. If you feel symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats or dizziness, note in your diary the time of day they began and what you were doing. Your diary will be compared to the changes in your ECG recorded by the Holter monitor.
What happens after wearing a Holter monitor?
After the test period, return the monitor to the technician. He or she will process the record of your heart activity and prepare a report for your doctor. This will include the notes in your diary.