WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM HOLTER EXAM?

Holter monitoring is painless and noninvasive. 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. 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. Your doctor will tell you how long you’ll need to wear the monitor. It may vary from 24 to 48 hours, depending on what condition your doctor suspects you have or how frequently you have symptoms of a heart problem. A wireless Holter monitor can work for weeks.
You’ll be asked to keep a diary of all your daily activities while you’re wearing the monitor. Write down what activities you do and exactly what time you do them. You should also write down any symptoms you have while you’re wearing the monitor, such as chest pain, shortness of breath or skipped heartbeats.
Your doctor can compare data from the Holter monitor recorder with your diary, which can help diagnose your condition.






WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT OF A HOLTER EXAM?

Holter monitoring is painless and noninvasive. 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. 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. Your doctor will tell you how long you’ll need to wear the monitor. It may vary from 24 to 48 hours, depending on what condition your doctor suspects you have or how frequently you have symptoms of a heart problem. A wireless Holter monitor can work for weeks.
You’ll be asked to keep a diary of all your daily activities while you’re wearing the monitor. Write down what activities you do and exactly what time you do them. You should also write down any symptoms you have while you’re wearing the monitor, such as chest pain, shortness of breath or skipped heartbeats.
Your doctor can compare data from the Holter monitor recorder with your diary, which can help diagnose your condition.
After the procedure-
Once your monitoring period is over, you’ll go back to your doctor’s office to return the Holter monitor. A nurse or technician will remove the electrodes from your chest, which may cause some discomfort similar to an adhesive bandage being pulled off your skin.
You’ll turn in the diary you kept while you wore the Holter monitor. When the Holter monitor is interpreted, your doctor will compare the data from the recorder and the activities and symptoms you wrote down.






When do you need to wear a Holter Monitor?

If you have signs or symptoms of a heart problem, such as an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), your doctor may order a test called an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram is a brief, noninvasive test that uses electrodes taped to your chest to check your heart’s rhythm.
However, sometimes an electrocardiogram doesn’t detect any irregularities in your heart rhythm. If your signs and symptoms suggest that an occasionally irregular heart rhythm may be causing your condition, your doctor may recommend that you wear a Holter monitor for a day or so.
The Holter monitor may be able to detect irregularities in your heart rhythm that an electrocardiogram couldn’t
, since an electrocardiogram usually takes only a few minutes.
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 or two, even if you haven’t had any symptoms of an abnormal heartbeat.






Silent Ischemia: Ischemia with No Pain

Ischemia is a condition in which the blood flow (and thus oxygen) is restricted or reduced in a part of the body. Cardiac ischemia is the name for decreased blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle.
What is ischemic heart disease? It’s the term given to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen reaches the heart muscle. This is also called coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease. This can ultimately lead to heart attack.
Ischemia often causes chest pain or discomfort known as angina pectoris.
What is silent ischemia?
Many Americans may have ischemic episodes without knowing it. These people have ischemia without pain — silent ischemia. They may have a heart attack with no prior warning. People with angina also may have undiagnosed episodes of silent ischemia. In addition, people who have had previous heart attacks or those with diabetes are especially at risk for developing silent ischemia.
Having an exercise stress test or wearing a Holter monitor – a battery-operated portable tape recording that measures and records your electrocardiogram (ECG) continuously, usually for 24-48 hours – are two tests often used to diagnose this problem. Other tests also may be used.






Symptoms of Heart Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias may not cause any signs or symptoms. In fact, your doctor might find you have an arrhythmia before you do, during a routine examination. Noticeable signs and symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have a serious problem, however.
Noticeable arrhythmia symptoms may include:
A fluttering in your chest
A racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Lightheadedness
Dizziness
Fainting (syncope) or near fainting






When you need a Holter monitor

If you have signs or symptoms of a heart problem, such as an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), your doctor may order a test called an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram is a brief, noninvasive test that uses electrodes taped to your chest to check your heart’s rhythm.
However, sometimes an electrocardiogram doesn’t detect any irregularities in your heart rhythm. If your signs and symptoms suggest that an occasionally irregular heart rhythm may be causing your condition, your doctor may recommend that you wear a Holter monitor for a day or so. The Holter monitor may be able to detect irregularities in your heart rhythm that an electrocardiogram couldn’t, since an electrocardiogram usually takes only a few minutes.
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 or two, even if you haven’t had any symptoms of an abnormal heartbeat.