What is a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is a portable device which allows your physician to record electrocardiographic tracings continuously for 24 hours.
How is the Holter monitor set up?
The medical technician will place electrodes (sticky pads) on your chest and the leads will connect to a Holter recording unit, which is portable. The recorder is held in a pouch and is strapped around the neck or waist. You will wear the Holter monitor for 24 hours. You are asked to keep a diary of any symptoms to submit the next day when you return the Holter monitor. You have to avoid taking baths or getting the Holter unit wet. It’s also advised not to use an electric blanket while wearing the monitor.
What preparation is required?
No preparation is necessary. It’s helpful to wear loose-fitting top to cover the electrodes. The unit cannot get wet. You cannot shower or bathe while wearing the monitor. It’s advised not to use an electric blanket while wearing the monitor.
Why are Holter monitors often used?
· When heart block is suspected or other rhythm disturbances are suspected, Holter monitor is often necessary.
· When a patient has palpitations or rapid heartbeat, a Holter monitor is often requested.
· If you have lightheadedness or if you have passed out, a Holter monitor is necessary.
· If you’ve been diagnosed with a new rhythm disturbance, such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, a Holter monitor is often necessary.
· If you have been diagnosed with frequent ventricular ectopy or supraventricular ectopy, a Holter monitor may be necessary.
· If you have been diagnosed with ventricular arrhythmias, a Holter monitor is often required.
· If patient has had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), a Holter monitor is often performed to see if there are any resultant electrical disturbances.
· Patients with cardiomyopathy often require a Holter monitor to evaluate for the incidence of arrhythmias.
· Patients who have cardiomegaly may require a Holter monitor depending on the seriousness of the underlying pathology.
· Patients who have interval abnormalities in her electrocardiogram such as prolonged QT interval may require a Holter monitor for further investigation for the risk of dangerous arrhythmias.