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What Is Holter Monitor?
Holter monitoring is a continuous, 24- to 48-hour electrocardiographic (EKG) recording of the heart's rhythm. The monitor is a miniature tape recorder. The monitor records the rhythm of your heartbeat while you go about your normal daily activity.

While you are wearing the monitor, you will keep a diary of your activities, including:
  • walking
  • moving your bowels
  • sleeping
  • eating
  • urinating
  • sexual activity

You will also note any strong emotion that you may feel, such as:
  • anger
  • sorrow
  • frustration
  • happiness

If you feel any symptoms such as:
  • dizziness
  • faintness
  • chest pains
  • palpitations
you will write them in the diary too. Some Holter monitors come with a button you can press if you start to feel the symptoms. Pressing the button produces an electronic marker on tape. This marks the exact time you felt the symptoms.

This procedure is usually performed to help us evaluate the type and amount of irregular heart beats during regular activities, exercise and sleep.

What Preparation Is Needed?
Please follow these precautions before coming to an echocardiogram:
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • No lotions, oils, or powder should be applied to the chest.
How Holter Monitor Is Performed?
Holter monitoring is a noninvasive procedure that involves the following steps:
  1. We will shave the hair off 4 or 5 spots on the chest, clean the skin with alcohol, and rough the skin with gauze pad. Roughing helps the adhesive side of electrodes to stay put.

  2. We will, then, tape the electrodes onto your chest.

  3. The electrode will be connected to a tape recorder, which you will wear on the belt under your clothes. The tape recorder weighs a pound or less.

  4. Once the monitor is in place, do not touch or adjust the electrodes or the monitor.

  5. Do not get the electrodes or the monitor wet.

  6. Do not have X-rays taken while wearing the holter monitor.

  7. Avoid using an electric blanket, heating pad or water bed while wearing the monitor.

  8. Be careful to keep your log complete and accurate and use the clock on the monitor.

Risk Factors
There are no risks associated with the procedure. Moreover, wearing a Holter monitor causes no discomfort.

Useful Links
  1. Holter Monitoring
    The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide provides the patients with basic information on the procedure. It discusses the responsibilities of the patient, the risks that the test entails and more.

  2. Holter Monitoring
    This article provides a basic level introduction into holter monitoring. It is well structured, organized into practical categories such as purpose, preparation, advantages/disadvantages, etc. The article also contains helpful illustrations.
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