Holter monitor

A Holter monitor is a small device which records the electrical activity of the heart. The device records every heartbeat over 24 hours.

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Test Description

What is it?

A Holter monitor is a small device which records the electrical activity of the heart.  The device records every heartbeat over approximately 24 hours.

At the time of arrival the patient will have the monitor fitted. Your patient should bathe or shower prior to this appointment as they will not be able to bathe while the monitor is attached.

Patients are generally unrestricted in their daily activities.


Why do I need this test?

A Holter monitor may be done for the following reasons:

  • Investigation of suspected arrhythmias in patient experiencing episodic or sustained palpitations, e.g. skipped beats, extra beats, or in whom bradycardia or tachycardia is suspected.
  • Syncope or presyncope (dizziness, fainting)
  • To monitor the function of your pacemaker or defibrillator
  • Follow-up to assess how well medications are controlling your heart rhythm

What to expect?

A technician will place electrodes on your chest which will sense the heartbeat.

Your skin will be given a mild exfoliation and wiped with alcohol to facilitate sticking. You may need to have a small amount of chest hair shaved off. Some people may experience some minor skin irritation from when the electrodes and tape are removed. The irritation is caused by the conductive gel on the electrodes reacting with the skin.  The procedure will require you to remove the clothing from your upper body. A gown will be provided to you to change into if required.

You will wear be required to wear the device for approximately 24 hours and return the monitor to the clinic the following day at the specified time.


What do I do during the test?

You should go about your activities in a normal manner. The technician will provide you with a diary to complete. You should make an entry every time your feel symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath or heart palpitations. You should record the time symptoms occurred, what symptoms occurred and what you were doing at the time.  Please return the diary with your device the following day.


What are the risks?

This is a very safe non-invasive test.  Some patients may experience a minor skin irritation from the sticky electrodes but this is rare.


Is there anything I shouldn’t do during the test?

  • During the 24 hours of the test you should not shower, bathe or swim or get the device wet
  • Do not use electric blankets
  • Do not use body powder or talcum
  • Do not remove the monitor
  • Do not shake the wires
  • If a lead wire comes unclipped from an electrode just snap it back on and record this in your diary
  • Do not drop the monitor
  • Do not open the monitor

 

Preparation Details

(Approximately 15 minutes duration)

We suggest bathing prior to your appointment as you will be wearing the device for 24 hours and cannot bathe with the device.


 

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