What is A Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device (about the size of a pack of cards) that keeps track of your heart rhythm. It continuously records your heart’s rhythms and the electrical activity of your heart. At Premier Cardiology, we may have a patient wear a Holter monitor if other tests we’ve run haven’t been definitive. Plus, this gives us a longer time span of heart activity, as we’ll usually have patients wear their Holter monitor for a full one to two days.
What does a Holter monitor test for?
The reason we put patients in a Holter monitor is to test to see if you have a heart rhythm problem. Electrocardiograms are used to test for this, but sometimes they can be inclusive. By wearing the Holter monitor for a longer period of time, it’s hoped it will be able to capture a period of heart activity where the irregular rhythm occurs.
How do I prepare for Holter monitor testing?
There really isn’t any preparation, per se. You should take a shower prior to your appointment, as the monitor needs to stay on your body and stay dry for the 24-72 hours.
Otherwise, you simply come to our Premier Cardiology office and we place the electrodes on your chest. Each is about the size of a silver dollar. Then we show you how to wear the monitor. We’ll also explain how you will keep your diary of your activities during the test.
Once we’ve done this, you can go about your normal activities.
What happens when I’m wearing the Holter monitor?
Wearing and running this test with a Holter monitor is completely noninvasive and there isn’t any pain. The electrodes that are attached to your chest are easily hidden under your clothing. You can wear the monitor hanging around your neck or attached to your belt. Once you start the test, the monitor must be worn continuously, even while you sleep.
When you’re wearing the Holter monitor for your test, you proceed about your normal activities. The duration of the test will depend on your condition and how frequently you experience these symptoms that could be traced to a heart rhythm problem.
At the same time that you are wearing the monitor, you’ll also keep a diary of your daily activities. You’ll write down what you’re doing and at exactly what time. For instance, “Took walk from 6:05 to 7:00 p.m.” You’ll record any symptoms such as chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or skipped heartbeats. This way our Premier Cardiology team can compare events in your diary with the results of the monitor at the corresponding time.
How long will I wear my Holter monitor?
The standard Holter monitors are worn on your body hanging from a strap around your neck or on your belt. From the monitor, electrodes are attached to various areas on your chest surrounding your heart. We usually have patients wear their monitors for periods ranging from 24 to 72 hours. However, if we still can’t capture your irregular heartbeat, we may suggest going to a wireless Holter monitor that can work and provide results for weeks.
When do I hear my results?
As soon as we have a chance to examine the results from your Holter monitor test and your diary, we’ll talk to you about what we’ve found. This will usually be the next day, if possible. Hopefully, the test may be able to confirm you have a heart condition. If not, we may need other tests to find out what is leading to your symptoms. If we think the test wasn’t long enough, we may recommend you wear a wireless Holter monitor that can be worn for longer test periods.
Are there any risks with a Holter monitor test?
There aren’t any risks with these tests. This is a passive measuring of the electrical activity in your heart. You can’t get the monitor wet. You’ll also need to avoid metal detectors, magnets, microwave ovens, electric blankets, electric razors, and electric toothbrushes while doing your test, as they can interfere with the Holter monitor signals.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about the Holter Monitor, please call 516-437-5600 and schedule a consultation with our physicians at one of our New York offices. You can change your life with a Holter Monitor and you can take the first step by speaking with us.