What is a Holter Monitor?

If you’re having symptoms of a potential heart rhythm issue or other heart problem, you will likely be asked to wear a Holter monitor at some point. The device is about the size of a small camera, and it’s one of the most important tools a doctor has available to find out what’s really happening with your heart. The portable device attaches to your skin with electrodes and measures the electrical activity of your cardiac system.

Why would I wear one?

Holter monitors are used in a few different situations, such as when a patient is experiencing cardiac symptoms but in-office tests aren’t able to capture what’s happening or when your doctor wants to monitor how well your medications are working over a period of time. The device captures data over a longer period of time than an in-office electrocardiogram (ECG) and can help identify what’s causing a heart rhythm issue to occur.

Often it’s worn for 24 to 48 hours, but it may be worn longer depending on a patient’s symptoms and what level of monitoring your doctor orders.

It’s not painful to wear, and there are no risks to wearing it. For the most part it’s possible to go about your normal activities while wearing it, though the monitor should be removed for bathing, showering or swimming. You’ll also need to stay away from high-voltage areas, such as metal detectors, large magnets and X-rays while wearing the monitor.

You may be asked to keep a diary of your activities to help with the diagnosis and ensure that what they’re seeing on the ECG matches your daily activity.

What happens after the Holter monitor?

At your follow-up visit after wearing a Holter monitor, a technician generates a report based on your ECG and diary. The data from the monitor can help with diagnosing what’s wrong and indicating what further treatment (if any) is necessary.

If you’re asked to wear a Holter monitor, don’t worry. It’s a normal diagnostic procedure that will help your doctor figure out exactly how to treat you. It’s safe, easy to wear and a great way to get an accurate reading of your cardiac activity. 

If you think you’ve been having heart rhythm issues, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of your physicians.