Holter Monitors

What is a Holter Monitor?

A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm. Typically, you would wear the device for around 24 hours. We use information captured on the Holter monitor to determine if you have a problem with your heart rhythm.

Why is this test performed?

Sometimes a traditional ECG doesn’t detect any irregularities in your heart rhythm because you are only connected to the machine for a short time. If your signs and symptoms suggest that you may have a problem with your heart rhythm, it may be recommended that you wear a Holter monitor. Over that time, the Holter monitor may be able to detect irregularities in your heart rhythm that an ECG couldn’t detect. It may also be recommended that you wear a Holter monitor if you have a heart condition that increases your risk of an abnormal heart rhythm, even if you have not had any symptoms of an abnormal heartbeat.

What does a Holter Monitor look for?

A Holter monitor captures and displays the heart’s performance. The monitor records every single beat. This recording is then analysed to look for any abnormalities. This may aid in the diagnosis of certain heart conditions.

 

Specifically, a Holter monitor might reveal:

What do I do while I am wearing the monitor?

When the monitor is fitted, it is recommended that you continue with your usual activities to try and capture your heart rhythm as it would be during your normal schedule of events. However, the Holter monitor cannot get wet, or it will be irreparably damaged or broken. Therefore, it is very important that you don’t swim or bathe for the entire time you’re wearing your Holter monitor. Where possible, it is also advisable to avoid activities that would lead to excessive sweating, as this may cause the electrodes to come loose.

 

You will be given a diary and asked to keep a log of your activities for the time that you are wearing the monitor. Write down what activities you do and exactly what time you do them. Also, write down any symptoms you have while you are wearing the monitor, such as chest pain, shortness of breath or skipped heartbeats. This is important so that your activities can be correlated to your heart rate and rhythm, and can help with the diagnosis of your condition.

Is there any preparation for this test?

Because the monitor cannot get wet, it is advisable to bathe or shower before you come to your appointment. For some men, it may be necessary for the technician to shave some hair from your chest. Some people prefer to do this themselves before they arrive. For your own comfort it is advisable, but not essential, to wear a button down, loose top. Unless instructed otherwise, continue to take your medications as they are prescribed.

 

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