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.






Why do people wear Holter monitors?

Regular electrocardiograms (ECGs or EKGs) let your doctor look at your heart’s activity at one point in time during your ECG test. But abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac symptoms may come and go. That’s why your doctor may want to evaluate your heartbeat over time while you go about your normal activities. You may be asked to wear a Holter monitor if you have fast, slow or irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias.

Wearing the monitor may tell your doctor:

If your medicines are working.
Why you have symptoms such as dizziness, faintness or the feeling that your heart is racing or skipping a beat.
If your heart is getting enough oxygen to meet its needs.







Don’t HOLD your HOLTERS!

Quote

In medicine, a Holter monitor (occasionally ambulatory electrocardiography device) is a portable device for continuously monitoring various electrical activity of the cardiovascular system for at least 24 hours (often for two weeks at a time). The Holter’s most common use is for monitoring heart activity (electrocardiography or ECG), but it can also be used for monitoring brain activity (electroencephalography or EEG) or arterial pressure. Its extended recording period is sometimes useful for observing occasional cardiac arrhythmia or epileptic events which would be difficult to identify in a shorter period of time. For patients having more transient symptoms, a cardiac event monitor which can be worn for a month or more can be used.
When used for the heart, much like standard electrocardiography the Holter monitor records electrical signals from the heart via a series of electrodes attached to the chest. Electrodes are placed over bones to minimize artifacts from muscular activity. The number and position of electrodes varies by model, but most Holter monitors employ between three and eight. These electrodes are connected to a small piece of equipment that is attached to the patient’s belt or hung around the neck, and is responsible for keeping a log of the heart’s electrical activity throughout the recording period.
Older devices used reel to reel tapes or a standard C90 or C120 audio cassette and ran at a 1.7mm or 2mm/second speed to record the data. Once a recording was made, it could be played back and analyzed at 60x speed so 24 hours of recording could be analyzed in 24 minutes. More modern units record onto digital flash memory devices. The data is uploaded into a computer which then automatically analyzes the input, counting ECG complexes, calculating summary statistics such as average heart rate, minimum and maximum heart rate, and finding candidate areas in the recording worthy of further study by the technician or the Doctor.
-While wearing the device, avoid:

-Electric blankets
-High-voltage areas
-Magnets
-Metal detectors

Continue your normal activities while wearing the monitor. You may be asked to exercise while being monitored if your symptoms have occurred in the past while you were exercising.
When your Doctor suggest a Holter monitor for your medical problem, you already know that is an accurate exam, so, let us play with the phrase: “Don’t hold your Holter’s examination”.