Your doctor uses cardiac monitors to diagnose arrhythmias. A monitor shows if your heart rhythm problem requires treatment or not.
A Holter monitor records your heart's electrical activity the entire time you wear it. You wear it for 24 to 48 hours.
You may pick up your monitor at your cardiologist's office or at the Cardiac Services Department at Doylestown Hospital.
What Do Holter Monitors Show?
Holter monitors record your heart's electrical activity. A monitor gives your doctor a more complete record of your heart rhythm than a routine EKG which lasts about 30 seconds. You also take detailed notes in a diary. You record your exact symptoms, what time they occur and what you are doing while they occur.
How Do I Prepare for a Monitor?
Your doctor gives you a physical exam before giving you a monitor. You may have an EKG as well.
The technician cleans five areas on your chest with alcohol and abrasive solution and places five electrodes (small sticky patches) on these areas. The patches connect by wires to the recorder. The technician secures the wires with additional tape. You clip the monitor to your belt or carry it in your pocket.
The technician gives you instructions on how to use the monitor. You follow your usual daily routine. You keep a diary of your activities and any symptoms. Write down any medications you take and when you take them. Note the time you develop symptoms so that it your doctor may compare your notes with the results of the EKG.
Holter monitors are very safe to wear. There are no risks involved. Here are few reminders:
- Wear a loose-fitting top when you receive your monitor.
- Do not get the wires, electrodes or monitor wet.
- You may not bathe or shower while wearing a monitor.
- Keep electronic devices (cell phone, music player) at least six inches away from the monitor.
- Bring the diary with you when you return the monitor.
How Will I Get the Results?
When you return the monitor, a technician scans the recorded tape. A cardiologist reviews the report and talks with your doctor. Your doctor will contact you with the test results as soon as they are available. This usually takes about one week.