Holter Monitoring (Ambulatory ECG Monitoring)
Holter monitors are medical devices which record the hearts electrical activity. Doctors most often use these monitors to diagnose arrhythmias, to detect silent (symptomless) myocardial ischemia and to evaluate whether current treatments for an arrhythmia or silent myocardial ischemia are working.
A Holter monitor is similar to an ECG (electrocardiogram). However, a standard ECG only records the heartbeat for a few seconds. It won't detect heart rhythm problems which don't occur during the test.
Some people have heart rhythm problems that occur only during certain activities, such as sleeping or physical exertion. Using a Holter monitor increases the chance of recording these problems.
Please take a shower before the test if you wish. You will not be able to take a shower during the time of recording. Please do not wear body lotion or perfume on the day of your test.
There are no pretest dietary restrictions. The patient should continue to take any prescribed medications before and after the test, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
During the test
Holter monitoring is a painless procedure. A technician will attach sticky patches called electrodes to the skin on your chest. The technician may have to shave areas of your skin (male patients) to help the electrodes stick.
Please do not shower while wearing the device and do not immerse it in the water. A Holter montior is a small, portable device which can be worn while you do your normal daily activities. The technician will ask you to record symptoms as they occur during the recording time in a Patients Diary which will be provided for you. The entire test (preparation and explanation) will take about 10-15 minutes.
A Holter monitor is a delicate and expensive medical device. You will be asked to sign a responsibility form to ensure that you will return the device on time and in working condition.
After the time indicated by your physician is up (24hr, 48hr or 72hrs of monitoring) a technician will remove the electrodes from your skin. You will be asked to return your Patients Diary for evaluation. You may develop redness where the ECG patches were attached. This mild redness often goes away without treatment.
Please arrive 10 minutes before your test to register at the reception desk. Bring your health card and your requisition form (if your physician has provided you with one).