Holter Monitoring

A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and tape records your heart’s activity (ECG) continuously for 24 to 48 hours or longer depending on the type of monitoring used. The device is the size of a small camera. It has wires with silver dollar-sized electrodes that attach to your skin. The Holter monitor and other devices that record your ECG as you go about your daily activities are called ambulatory electrocardiograms.

The Holter's most common use is for monitoring heart activity (electrocardiography or ECG). Its extended recording period is sometimes useful for observing occasional cardiac arrhythmias which would be difficult to identify in a shorter period.


Uses for Holter Monitoring

A Holter monitoring is used to determine how the heart responds to normal activity. The monitor may also be used:

After a heart attack

To diagnose heart rhythm problems that may be causing symptoms such as palpitations or syncope (passing out/fainting)
When starting a new heart medicine

Heart rhythms which may be recorded include:

Atrial fibrillation or flutter
Multifocal atrial tachycardia
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
Ventricular tachycardia

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.

 

How the Test will Feel

This is a painless test. However, some people may need to have their chest shaved so the electrodes can stick.

You must keep the monitor close to your body. This may make it hard for you to sleep.

Occasionally there may be an uncomfortable skin reaction to the sticky electrodes. You should call the provider's office where it was placed to tell them about it.

 

 

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