Holter Monitor

A Holter monitor, a form of heart monitor, tracks your heart’s activity for either 24 or 48 hours. A cardiac monitor can help diagnose the problem if you experience irregular heartbeats or palpitations that an EKG couldn’t pick up on. You wear the Holter monitor as you go about your daily routines, and afterward, your healthcare provider discusses the findings with you.

What is a Holter monitor?

A Holter monitor is a wearable device and type of ambulatory electrocardiogram that records your heart’s rhythm and rate of activity. It gives your provider a full picture of what your heart rhythm and rate do as you go about your life.

This monitor is:

  • Small, about the size of a cellphone.
  • Battery operated.
  • Equipped with wires and electrodes (small patches) that stick to your skin.

A Holter monitor records your heart’s electrical activity for 24 or 48 hours. While you wear it, you continue to do your regular daily activities.

What conditions can a Holter monitor find?

A Holter monitor can find the cause of:

  • Arrhythmia (heart rhythm abnormalities).
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Unexplained dizziness.
  • Your provider can also use a cardiac monitor to determine how well your:
  • The heart is getting oxygen.
  • Heart medications are working.
  • Pacemaker is working

Before the test:

If your physician suggests Holter monitoring, the device will be fitted during a scheduled appointment. Unless advised otherwise by your doctor, it’s advisable to bathe before this appointment. Once monitoring begins, most devices cannot be removed and must remain dry.

It’s advisable to wear comfortable clothing for easy dressing after the monitor has been attached

What should I expect when wearing a holter?

1. Attach the electrodes: The technician attaches the electrodes to your chest. The electrodes are small, round, sticky patches. They might need to shave your chest to make sure the electrodes stay attached.

2. Place the monitor: The technician helps you put on the monitor and connect it to the electrodes. They explain how to take care of the monitor.

3. Store the monitor: You can carry the heart monitor in a pocket or bag. Or you can wear it on a strap, like a purse. You can also wear it on your waist.

4. Go about your day: You can do most of your usual activities while you wear the monitor.

5. Keep an activity and symptom diary: Your technician explains how to keep track of your activities and symptoms. Write down symptoms such as shortness of breath, skipped or uneven heartbeats, and chest pain. Jot down when the symptoms happened and what you were doing. Your provider will compare changes in your EKG with your symptoms and activities.

After the test

After the 24- or 48-hour period:

  • You return the monitor to the clinic.
  • The technician processes your records, including the EKG and your notes, and sends a report to your provider.
  • You get the results of the test within a week or two


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