What is Holter Monitoring?
Sometimes, patients complain of symptoms that require an echocardiogram (ECG) to help diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, some patients have a normal ECG in spite of having genuine complaints.
Holter monitoring, is a testing method in which the patient wears a portable ECG recorder over an extended period of time, while performing normal daily activities such as walking, driving, gardening and sleeping. Because the Holter monitor is used while the patient is moving about, it is sometimes referred to as an ambulatory ECG.
The Holter monitor prints out a graphic chart of changes in the electrical signals generated by the heart. This allows your cardiologist to capture a complete record of the heart’s activity and document shifts in rhythm and the effects of stress or other disturbances over a longer time than would be possible to detect in an office visit.
How long will I need to wear the Holter monitor?
This will be determined by the type of Holter monitor chosen by your doctor. There are two basic types of Holter monitors:
- Continuous monitors that are usually worn for 24 – 48 hours.
- Intermittent monitors, which are worn for much longer periods – sometimes over the course of weeks or months. This method provides a wide range of “snap shots” that allow the cardiologist to review your heart’s activity in a wide variety of situations. These monitors are referred to as “loop recorders”.
Your doctor will determine which method is best for your situation.
How should I prepare for a Holter monitor?
There are no preparations required. Simply go to the office where your appointment is scheduled.
How long does it take to receive my results?
We can’t analyze your results until you return the Holter monitor. A technologist, along with your cardiologist, will review the 24 + hours of data and generate a report. It may take up to 3 days to provide results to you or the physician that ordered your test (from the date you returned the monitor).