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Heart & Vascular

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Holter Monitor Test

Here is how it works and what you need to do to prepare for a Holter monitor test.

  • You will have an appointment for your monitor fitting. A technician will place electrodes that sense your heartbeat on your chest. Using wires, the technician will then connect the electrodes to the recording device, which you can wear on your waistband or belt. The fitting takes about 20 minutes.

  • You will also be asked to keep a journal of your activities and symptoms and when they occur while you wear the monitor. Be particularly mindful of such symptoms as skipped heartbeats, shortness of breath or chest pain.

  • Aside from bathing, you can go about your regular daily activities while you are wearing the Holter monitor. You are welcome to wash your hair and sponge bathe keeping the water away from the electrodes and wires. Holter monitors are quite reliable, easy to use and subject to very little interference from external energy sources such as power lines, magnets and metal detectors. In order to increase the diagnostic yield of Holter monitoring, it is critical that patients do not vary from their daily routines while wearing the device. For some patients who may have less frequent symptoms, an implantable loop monitor may be a good alternative to the Holter monitoring system and has been shown in several studies to signifi cantly improve our ability to make a diagnosis. There is also a new short-term wireless monitoring system called a Ziopatch that we are currently evaluating in clinical trials. Your cardiologist can help decide which type of monitoring system is best for you.

  • How long you wear the monitor depends on the condition your doctor suspects you have. Once the monitor is removed, the doctor will compare your journal entries with the data from your monitor and diagnose your condition or determine if additional testing is needed.