Holter Monitoring to Help Identify Heart Abnormalities
A Holter monitor is a continuous, 24 or 48-hour EKG recording to evaluate a patient for possible heart rhythm or heart rate abnormalities. The device used is also sometimes called an ambulatory electrocardiography (ECG) device.
A Holter monitor can be worn during regular daily activities in order to help your physician identify irregular heartbeat patterns, called heart arrhythmias that may be the cause of your symptoms. Since the recording covers 24 to 48 hours a Holter monitor is much more likely to detect an abnormal heart rhythm when compared to the ECG which is a much shorter duration.
What should I expect during Holter monitoring?
There are typically no dietary, activity or medication restrictions that must be followed prior to having a Holter monitor placed. However, follow the instructions given to you by the ordering physician.
Five leadwires will be attached to your chest to detect and record your heart rhythm. The leadwires connect to the small recorder, which is about the size of a pager. Your appointment will last approximately 15 to 20 minutes. In general, patients are to perform their normal daily activities, except for showering, bathing or swimming. There is no risk of electric shock, and it is permissible to use cell phones, microwave ovens and other electronic devices while wearing the monitor. You will be given complete instructions when the monitor is placed on you. If concerning or life-threatening rhythms are detected on your monitor, the ordering physician will be paged immediately, and you will be contacted as soon as possible with further instructions.
The physician who ordered the Holter monitor should have the results within 24 to 48 hours after the monitoring is complete.