What is a Holter Monitor?
A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that records your heart rhythm. You wear a Holter monitor for 24 hours. During that time, the device will record the rhythm of your heart.
A Holter monitor test is usually performed after a traditional test to check your heart rhythm (electrocardiogram) isn't able to give your doctor enough information about your heart's condition, or you experience incidence symptoms infrequently or irregularly. Your doctor may also order a Holter monitor if you have a heart condition that increases your risk of an abnormal heart rhythm, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your doctor may suggest you wear a Holter monitor for a day, even if you haven't had any symptoms of an abnormal heartbeat.
While wearing a Holter monitor may be a little inconvenient, it's an important test that may help your doctor diagnose your condition.
How to Prepare
Make an appointment to have your Holter monitor fitted by contacting your nearest participating patient collection centre, click here for details.
You should bathe before this appointment because once your monitoring begins, you can't get the monitor wet or remove the monitor to bathe.
Please make sure you wear loose fitting clothes on the day of your appointment and during the testing period. This is required because electrodes will be attached to your chest.
What to Expect
Holter monitoring is painless and noninvasive.
Our pathology collector will place some electrodes that sense your heartbeat on your chest. The electrodes are attached to your chest through tape-like adhesive and gel. For men, a small amount of hair may be shaved to make sure the electrodes stick. The pathology collector will then connect the electrodes to a recording device with several wires, and will instruct you on how to properly wear the recording device.
You can hide the electrodes and wires under your clothes, and you can wear the recording device on your belt or attached to a strap around your neck.
You'll be asked to keep a diary and log the timing of any events - symptoms of palpitations, skipped heartbeats, shortness of breath, chest pain or lightheadedness. You'll usually be given a form to help you record your activities and any symptoms.
In addition if symptoms are experienced while wearing the monitor there is a button on the monitor which can be pressed to inform the analyst of the time of the symptoms. Our pathology collector fitting the monitor will show you this.
Once your monitor is fitted and you've received instructions on how to wear it, you leave our centre and resume your normal everyday activities.
Once your monitoring begins, don't take the Holter monitor off — you must wear it at all times, even while you sleep.
While you wear a Holter monitor, you can carry out your usual daily activities. The length of time you are required to wear the Holter monitor will be 24 hours.
After the Procedure
Once your monitoring period is over, you'll need to come back to our patient collection centre to return the Holter monitor:
- Our pathology collector will then remove the electrodes from your chest, (similar to a bandage being pulled off your skin)
- Hand the pathology collector the diary you kept while you wore the Holter monitor
- You are then free to resume your normal everyday activities. Our cardiologists will review the holter monitor trace and will report the results back to your treating doctor directly.
These results are normally available to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours.