Holter Monitor / Event Monitor / Mobile Continuous Telemetry Monitor
A Holter Monitor is a portable device that acts as a continuous electrocardiogram or EKG. When a patient complains of irregular heartbeat, flutter and more, they are often preliminarily diagnosed using an in-office EKG. While the in-office EKG is very effective at finding persistent irregular heartbeats, if the patient does not experience an episode during the EKG, the physician will have no record of it.
The Holter Monitor surmounts this challenge by monitoring and recording the heart’s activity for up to 48 hours or more depending on the device. Electrodes are attached to the patient’s chest and connected to the monitor, which is carried in a convenient and portable pouch. Using battery power allows the patient to easily carry the monitor around and perform normal activities over the course of monitoring.
Commonly, Holter Monitors are useful in helping diagnose:
- Irregular heart rhythms
- A potential problem with a pacemaker or other implanted device
- Potential problems with medications and how they react with the heart
Wearing Your Holter Monitor
You will be asked to perform your usual activities and keep a log of your symptoms during this time. Anytime you feel dizziness, shortness of breath, your heart skipping a beat or other abnormalities, it is important to note what you were doing and when you were doing it. Your entries will be compared against the results of the EKG.
After a period of time, determined by your cardiologist or electrophysiologist, the Holter Monitor is removed and data is downloaded. Upon analyzing the data, your physician will receive a report about your heart’s activity.
There is no risk, or pain involved with the use of a Holter Monitor other than the possibility of some mild skin irritation where the electrodes are taped to your chest.
If you are experiencing what you believe to be irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fainting or other symptoms, speak to your doctor about employing an ambulatory monitor such as the Holter, to get a better idea of what may be causing the discomfort.