What is a Holter monitor
A Holter monitor is a miniature recorder which records an electrical trace of your heartbeat continuously for 24 hours, which provides information about the electrical function of the heart .
Why am I having a HOLTER?
Your doctor wants to know what your heart electrical system is doing in a 24 hour period This may help to find reasons for some problems such as: abnormal or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, faints, blackouts, palpitations, or checking pacemaker function. How is a HOLTER performed ?/ What can I expect on the day?
The monitor is worn for 24 hours. You will need to make two visits, one to have the monitor to put on, and a second one to have it removed. Please be punctual when you are coming back for removal of the monitor. Another person may be waiting to have theirs put on… On the first visit, when the monitor is put on, you will be required to remove all garments from your chest. 5 ECG electrodes will be attached to the skin of the chest. The skin is prepared by shaving if required, then rubbed with alcohol and mild sand paper to improve electrical connections. There will be leads connected to a battery operated recorder which you can wear on your belt, over the shoulder or around your neck. Tape is used to secure the leads to the skin. Please let us know if you have any allergies to tape The technician putting on the monitor will give you more information about the Holter monitor recorder and the event button which you may press if you feel unusual symptoms such as dizziness or unusual heartbeats.
Please do not get the recorder wet. Please do not lose or damage the recorder or leads. Replacement recorders cost over $3000. Replacement leads cost over $300. Please do not use an electric blanket – unplug it from the power point. The electrical interference from a working electric blanket will make it impossible to interpret the results. Please avoid the use of your mobile phone, or at least keep it well away from the recorder and leads. Interference from the phone may contaminate the recording.
If a lead become dislodged, just put it back on and let us know. One dislodged lead rarely causes invalid results, but multiple or frequent lead dislodgement may mean we need to repeat the test.
What about the results?
Your recording is stored on a memory card which is removed from the recorder after the end of the test, when you come back on the second day. The memory card is then sent off for analysis and reporting. A technician edits the recording and provides a preliminary report of the test within 2or 3 days depending on the day of the week when the test is performed.
The test is then formally reported by a heart specialist, generally after another 2-3 days. Your doctor will get the full report in the mail, generally about 1 week after you have the test performed. Sometimes the recording may have to be repeated if the duration of the recording is insufficient or there is too much interference.