A Holter Monitor is a small wearable device that is used in order to keep track of an individual’s heart rate and rhythm – often worn by athletes and individuals with heart health issues looking for a means to better track their heart rate and more, in many instances, a cardiologist will have their patients wear a Holter monitor for a day or two – during which time, the device will continuously record their heartbeats and other vital signs.
How Does Holter Monitor Work?
In many cases, if a patient has undergone some methods of cardiovascular diagnostic testing such as an ECG or electrocardiogram, and it didn’t provide them with enough information to make a definitive diagnosis, your cardiologist might request that you try and wear the monitor for a few days and get some readings over a longer period of time, during your normal daily activities. This will often give a better, more detailed understanding of the heart’s condition during normal daily life.
Once they are able to gather the information from the Holter monitor, they will use it to identify whether or not you have a heart rhythm problem. If standard Holter monitoring doesn’t capture your irregular heartbeat, your doctor may suggest a longer-term monitor, which can record your heartbeat over several weeks. In some cases, even devices like Apple Watches and other fitness smartwatches can offer certain functions similar to an ECG device.
Why Use a Holter Monitor?
Often, a Holter Monitor will be recommended to patients for a day or two, in the event they begin to exhibit certain signs or symptoms of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, in addition to other heart health issues such as unexplained fainting. In most cases, before an individual has a Holter Monitor put on, they will have an EKG or electrocardiogram test performed prior in order to get a better understanding of the patient’s heartbeat. However, in many cases, the EKG may not always be able to fully detect the changes in the heartbeat or rhythm, as patients are generally only being checked for a short time period – whereas, with a Holter Monitor, the patient’s heartbeat is being checked over the course of a few days, at different points in their daily life. A Holter monitor may be able to spot occasionally abnormal heart rhythms that an ECG missed. A Holter monitor test may also be done if you have a heart condition that increases your risk of an abnormal heart rhythm.
What to Expect Wearing Your Holter Monitor?
The Holter Monitor is 100% noninvasive and is simply worn by the patient with the electrodes being attached to their skin beneath their clothing. Generally, the recording device is worn on the patient’s belt or attached to a strap that often goes around the neck or shoulders. It’s important to understand that once you put the monitor on, you mustn’t take it off for the duration of your testing period. It’s also important to keep it on while sleeping and avoid showering for the duration of the testing period as well. In most cases, you will also be expected to record your daily activities, any feelings, and symptoms you might experience, and the time at which they occurred. This will give your cardiologist a better understanding as to what activities might have set you and your heart rate off. Some of the most important symptoms to document include:
- Fluttering, pounding or skipping of your heart beat.
- Any shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
- Lightheadedness or blurred vision.
- Chest pains and any other symptoms you might deem relevant.
For more information on a Holter Monitor or other forms of diagnostic testing, be sure to contact Dr. Kalafatic today.