Holter monitoring is painless and noninvasive. You can hide the electrodes and wires under your clothes, and you can wear the recording device on your belt or attached to a strap. Once your monitoring begins, don't take the Holter monitor off — you must wear it at all times, even while you sleep.
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 12 hours to three days, depending on what condition your doctor suspects you have, or how frequently you have symptoms of a heart problem.
While you wear a Holter monitor, you'll need to keep a diary of all your daily activities. You'll need to write down what activities you do and exactly what time you do them. You should also write down any symptoms you have while you're wearing the monitor, such as chest pain, shortness of breath or skipped heartbeats. Your doctor can compare data from the Holter monitor recorder with your diary, which can help diagnose your condition.
After the procedure
Once your monitoring period is over, you'll go back to your doctor's office to return the Holter monitor. A nurse or technician will remove the electrodes from your chest, which may cause some discomfort, similar to a bandage being pulled off your skin.
You'll turn in the diary you kept while you wore the Holter monitor. When the Holter monitor is interpreted, your doctor will compare the data from the recorder and the activities and symptoms you wrote down. If your heart rhythm changed and you had symptoms while you did strenuous activities, knowing that information can help your doctor diagnose your condition.
Apr. 21, 2011
- What are Holter, event, and transtelephonic monitors? American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3005149. Accessed Jan. 24, 2011.
- EKG Holter and event monitors. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/holt/holt_all.html. Accessed Jan. 24, 2011.
- Park MK. Pediatric Cardiology for Practitioners. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/121956069-4/807984289/1588/35.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-04636-7..50012-5--cesec52_232. Accessed Jan. 26, 2011.