Holter monitoring is a continuous recording of your ECG, usually for 24 hours, while you go about your usual daily activities. It is especially useful in diagnosing abnormal heart rhythms. The Holter monitor itself is a small, portable cassette recorder, worn on a strap over the shoulder. Several electrodes (small sticky patches) are placed on your chest and connected by wires to the recorder.
- To detect abnormal heart rhythms that may now occur during a standard ECG test.
- To assess recurring symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, and palpitations.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, such as medications and pacemakers, that can help control abnormal heart rhythms.
Before the Test
- Wear a loose fitting blouse or shirt, with the buttons in the front.
- Do not use lotions or bath oil on your skin. This will prevent the electrodes from sticking on your skin for 24 hours.
- There are no dietary restrictions.
- Ask your physician if you are to take your medication as ordered.
During the Test
- Several areas on your chest will be cleansed with alcohol and an abrasive pad, to ensure good electrode contact. Men may need to have areas of their chest shaved.
- Please inform the medical assistant or nurse if you are allergic to cloth or paper tape. This will be used to help secure the electrodes on your skin.
- The electrodes are connected by wires to the recorder. The nurse or medical assistant will check the system to make sure it is working properly.
- You can do anything you would normally do, except take a bath or shower while the monitor is on. Do not get the electrodes, wires, or recorder wet.
- The nurse will show you a button on the recorder to press if you have a symptom that you want the physician to especially note. When you press this button, it marks the tracing for the doctor. This will help the doctor correlate your symptoms with your ECG tracing.
- Try to sleep on your back, with the recorder positioned at your side so that the electrodes are not pulled off.
- You will keep a diary (or log) in which you enter your activities, any symptoms you experience, and the time at which the symptoms occurred. The diary is very important, because it enables the doctor to correlate your activities and symptoms with the ECG tracing. DON’T FORGET TO BRING THE DIARY BACK WHEN YOU RETURN THE RECORDER!
After The Test
- Once you return the monitor, the cassette is analyzed by a computer, and scanned by a technician. The report is printed for the TCA doctor to review.
- The information gained will help your TCA doctor make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan for you. A full report will be sent to your referring physician.