What is a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is a small recorder that a patient wears for 24 to 48 hours to record their heart rhythm (ECG). Normal activities may be carried out while the monitor is worn. This monitor is helpful in detecting abnormal and irregular heart rhythms. You will receive the Holter monitor at either your Cardiologist's office or the Cardiac Services Department of Doylestown Hospital.
What does the recording show?
The Holter monitor will continuously document and save a record of your heart rhythm (ECG). Any episodes of abnormal or irregular heart rhythms will be documented on the recording. Patients who report symptoms that may be related to abnormal or irregular heart rhythms often do not experience these symptoms during a routine ECG which lasts only about 30 seconds. Holter monitoring, however, enables the physician to view and analyze a significantly longer ECG recording. By examining this recording, the physician will be able to determine if your symptoms and heart activity are related. An important aspect of Holter monitoring is keeping a detailed diary that notes exact symptoms, time of symptoms and what your activity was during the symptoms.
How is it done?
The technician will first clean five areas on your chest with alcohol and abrasive solution. Then five electrodes (small sticky patches) will be placed on your chest. Wires will be secured with some additional tape to prevent excess tension or pulling on them. Men may need to have areas of their chest clipped. You will not have to disrobe, but you may be asked to lift your blouse or shirt.
The patches will be connected by wires to the recorder and the recorder will be worn in a "fanny pack" around your waist.
The ECG technician will instruct you on the care and use of the monitor. You will be instructed to follow your usual daily routine and to report in a diary your activities and symptoms you may develop. It is important for you to write down the medications you have taken and the times you have taken them in your diary. You must also note the time you develop symptoms so that it may be more easily correlated with your ECG strip.
You will not be permitted to shower, bathe or swim until the monitor is removed. DO NOT get the wires, electrodes or monitor wet.
- Don't forget to bring the diary with you when you return the monitor.
- Wear loose fitting shirt/blouse.
- The Holter monitor is very safe to wear and there are no risks involved.
- You will be charged both the use of the Holter monitor and for the scanning process.
- The Cardiologist will charge for interpretation of the ECG scan.
How will I get the results?
Once the monitor has been returned, the recorded tape will be scanned by a technician. The printed report will be reviewed by a Cardiologist. The Cardiologist will contact your physician directly for any significant abnormalities. Otherwise, the final results will be available from the PHYSICIAN WHO ORDERED THE TEST in approximately one week.
Please Note: If the results of your test need to be sent to an ordering physician that does not practice at Doylestown Hospital, you will need to provide the physician's full name, address and if possible FAX number. You may provide this information on the day of your visit or call 215-345-2231 Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
Please Note: Specific details such as type of food being eaten or TV show being watched are not necessary.