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Holter monitoring

A Holter monitor is a portable and continuous EKG (electrocardiogram) device that can be worn for 24 to 72 hours. A patient wears it under their clothing. Leads are placed on the chest and then connected to the monitor. It will record every heartbeat, and when you return the monitor, a specially-trained therapist will review your EKG.

After reviewing your test a heart doctor will look over the results and dictate a report.

We will be sending a diary home with you so you can record certain events. For example, we like to know what medications you are taking and when you take them. We would also like you to document any unusual symptoms like chest pain, palpitations, or other symptoms for which the test is being ordered.

This is a non-invasive and very reliable test.

What is it used for?
The majority of people we see for Holter monitoring are sent because they sense an irregular heart beat. Some people will use the term palpitations, skips, or say they feel their heart jumping.

Because of the fleeting nature of certain arrhythmias, a Holter monitor which records your EKG continuously is the best solution.

We also hook up these monitors on people that complain of dizziness, passing out, lightheadedness, chest pain, weakness and stroke symptoms.

How do I prepare for this test?
It is recommended that you do not apply creams, oils, or powders to your chest on the day of testing. This could interfere with the therapist's ability in applying the electrodes. Please wear loose comfortable clothes with a top and bottom. Do NOT wear a dress, girdle, or corset.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment so you can be registered. Always bring your health card to any medical appointment.

Returning the Holter monitor.
The therapist who hooks the monitor on you will explain how to remove the unit and when to return it. It is very important to return the Holter monitor on time as we have other patients waiting for it.

How long will this test take?
It will take approximately 20 minutes to hook the monitor on. Once this is done you will wear the monitor for 24 to 72 hours, depending on what the doctor has ordered.

What should I do once the monitor is on and I go home?
We normally like you to continue with your every day activities...

  • Do not take a bath or shower (sponge with a wet cloth);
  • Do not get the machine or your chest wet; and
  • Do not have a chest x-ray taken.
Remember this is a sensitive recording device with a replacement cost of approximately $2,500. You are the best judge of what you can or can not do while wearing this device.

What happens if a wire comes off?
Although this very rarely happens there is a simple solution. Just snap the wire back on to the electrode that is missing a wire. If you cannot do this, call 519-749-4235 between 8am and 3pm.

If it happens after hours just make a note of it in your diary but do not take the monitor off. At Grand River Hospital, we use the best recorders allowing us to monitor your heart in three different views. Most of the time, we can retrieve the information we are looking for.

Always write in your diary when the wire came off and when you reattach it.

What should I record in my diary?
  • The time and name of the medications you take;
  • Bedtime;
  • Any unusual symptoms e.g. palpitations, chest pain, dizziness; and/or
  • Any activity that would increase your heart rate e.g. going for a walk, working-out, biking, vacuuming, etc.

Why should I have my Holter monitoring at GRH’s KW Site?
There are many reasons why, but the important ones are:
  • Our local heart doctors will be interpreting your results;
  • All monies received for this test are kept in this community;
  • A report will be sent to the ordering physician and any other doctor you wish to get the results;
  • Specially-trained therapists will be scanning your results, not just a computer; and
  • We have over 20 years of experience in this field.

If there is a concern about your test results, your doctor and/or one of our local heart doctors will be called to review our finding right away.

How fast will the results be reviewed?
Within 48 hours of returning the monitor, one of our specially-trained therapist will review your EKG and then a heart doctor will dictate the results.
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