A Holter monitor is a portable and continuous EKG (electrocardiogram) device that can be worn for 24 hours to 21 days. A patient wears it under their clothing. Leads (cables) are placed on the chest and then connected to the monitor. It will record every heartbeat. When you return the monitor a specially-trained therapist will review your results. A heart doctor will then look over the results and dictate a report.
We will send 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 heartbeat. 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 the test. This could interfere with the therapist's ability to apply 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 appointment so you can be registered. Always bring your health card to any medical appointment.
How do I return 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 to use 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 everyday 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 cannot do while wearing the 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 8 am and 3 pm.
If it happens after hours make a note of it in your diary, but do not take the monitor off. 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 name and time of the medications you take;
- What time you go to bed;
- 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.).