How you prepare

If your doctor recommends Holter monitoring, you'll have the device placed during a scheduled appointment. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, plan to bathe before this appointment. Most monitors can't be removed and must be kept dry once monitoring begins.

A technician will place electrodes that sense your heartbeat on your chest. These electrodes are about the size of a silver dollar. For men, a small amount of hair may be shaved to make sure the electrodes stick.

The technician 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 deck of cards.

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.

March 28, 2017
References
  1. Podrid PJ. Ambulatory ECG monitoring. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.
  2. Holter monitor. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Holter-Monitor_UCM_446437_Article.jsp#.WDXveNUrJ0w. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.
  3. Holter and event monitors. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/holt. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Ambulatory heart rhythm monitoring. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  5. Mankad R (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 20, 2016.