What is a Holter Monitor?
A Holter Monitor is a machine that your doctor will order which will continuously record your heart rhythms for 24 hours or more. The monitor is worn continuously throughout the day and night and because it is worn for an extended time period, it can help physicians determine if there is a problem with the heart that would not normally be detected with a regular EKG which only checks the patient’s heart rhythym for less than a minute.
The white patches you see in the photo above are attached to your chest area and are hooked up to a small box (see the black box in the patient’s pocket area) that will store your heart rhythym and rate information while you are wearing the monitor. It is helpful to keep a journal while you are wearing the monitor detailing the date/time/activities you do while wearing the device along with any symptoms you have. Writing down specifically what symptoms you have and the date/time they occured will help your physician when analyzing the results of the test. It is also helpful to rate your symptoms if you have any while wearing the monitor on a level from 1-10. For example, if you are walking briskly uphill and have chest pain, you would write down in your journal something like this if you felt your chest pain was at about a level “4” on a scale from 1-10.
Sample Journal Entry for Patient Wearing Holter Monitor:
Activity: Walking uphill briskly
Symptoms: chest pain level 4 on scale from 1-10 with 1 being the least and 10 being the worst
When your monitor is attached the technician may shave your skin so that the patches will adhere better. It is also a good idea to ask for some replacement patches so that if the patches become dislodged or fall off, that you can replace the patch and re-attach the lead.
It is also a good idea to take a shower or bathe before you have the holter monitor attached. You will not be able to take a shower while you are wearing the monitor.