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Holter Monitoring

Holter monitors are small, portable electrocardiograph machines that are able to record the heart’s rhythm. Each type of monitor has unique features related to length of recording time and ability to send the recordings over the phone.

Your doctor uses holter monitors to:

  • Assess your heart rhythm over time

  • Correlate your symptoms with your heart rhythm

  • Diagnose abnormal heart rhythms: what kind they are, how long they last, and what may cause them

  • Guide treatment for abnormal heart rhythms


To prepare

  • Avoid oily or greasy skin creams and lotions where the monitor is applied. They interfere with the electrode-skin contact.

  • Wear a shirt that can be easily removed to place the electrodes on the chest.


Holter Monitor (Ambulatory ECG)

  • A Holter monitor is a portable ECG recorder that you wear during your normal daily activities, including sleeping.

  • It can be worn for 24 hours up to 1 week

  • Electrodes (sticky patches) are placed on the skin of your chest. Wires are attached from the electrodes to a box about the size of a portable tape player and worn on a belt or shoulder strap. The electrical impulses are continuously recorded and stored in the Holter Monitor.

  • While you are wearing the monitor, you will be asked to keep a diary of your activities and your symptoms, such as fluttering feelings in your chest (palpitations), rapid heartbeats, and any episodes of dizziness or faintness. It's important to keep track of the activities you were doing when your symptoms occurred, so your doctor can see what kinds of events are bringing them on.


When the Holter monitor test is complete, you will return the Holter Monitor. A technician plays the tape on a special computer that analyzes the recording and looks for any abnormalities of the rhythm. The technician prepares a full report for the doctor, including a printout of abnormal heart rhythms.

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