A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm. Your doctor may want you to wear a Holter monitor for one to two days. During that time, the device records all of your heartbeats.
A Holter monitor test is usually performed after a traditional test to check your heart rhythm (electrocardiogram), especially if the electrocardiogram doesn’t give your doctor enough information about your heart’s condition.
Heartcare clinics doctor uses information captured on the Holter monitor to figure out if you have a heart rhythm problem.
Why it's done?
However, sometimes an electrocardiogram doesn’t detect any irregularities in your heart rhythm because you’re hooked up to the machine for only a short time. If your signs and symptoms suggest that an occasionally irregular heart rhythm may be causing your condition, your doctor may recommend that you wear a Holter monitor for a day or so.
Over that time, the Holter monitor may be able to detect irregularities in your heart rhythm that an electrocardiogram couldn’t detect.
Your doctor may also order a Holter monitor if you have a heart condition that increases your risk of an abnormal heart rhythm. Your doctor may suggest you wear a Holter monitor for a day or two
Is there any risks ?
However, the Holter monitor can’t get wet, or it will be damaged. Don’t swim or bathe for the entire time you’re wearing your Holter monitor.
Holter monitors aren’t usually affected by other electrical appliances. But avoid metal detectors, magnets, microwave ovens, electric blankets, and electric razors and toothbrushes while wearing one because these devices can interrupt the signal from the electrodes to the Holter monitor. Also, keep your cellphones and portable music players at least 15 cm from the monitor for the same reason.
How you prepare?
A well trained nurse will place electrodes that sense your heartbeat on your chest. These electrodes are about the size of a coin ,For men, a small amount of hair may be shaved to make sure the electrodes stick.
The nurse will then connect the electrode to a recording device with several wires and will instruct you on how to properly wear the recording device so that it can record data transmitted from the electrodes. The recording device is about the size of a small pocket radio
You’ll be instructed to keep a diary of all the activities you do while wearing the monitor. It’s particularly important to record in the diary any symptoms of palpitations, skipped heartbeats, shortness of breath, chest pain or lightheadedness. You’ll usually be given a form to help you record your activities and any symptoms.
Once your monitor is fitted and you’ve received instructions on how to wear it, you can leave your doctor’s office and resume your normal activities.
What you can expect During the procedure?
While you wear a Holter monitor, you can carry out your usual daily activities. Your doctor will tell you how long you’ll need to wear the monitor. It may vary from 24 to 48 hours, depending on what condition your doctor suspects you have or how frequently you have symptoms of a heart problem.