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What is a Holter Monitor?

A Holter Monitor is a small wearable device used by health professionals to monitor heart rhythms of patients. For instance, your doctor might recommend that you wear the Monitor for two consecutive days during which the device records all of your heart beats.

Holter Monitor tests are commonly recommended after traditional tests to check a patient’s heart rhythm (electrocardiogram) if the traditional electrocardiogram doesn’t give your doctor sufficient information about your heart

The doctor uses data from the Holter Monitor to figure out if the patient has a heart rhythm problem. While “standard” Monitors are the most widely used, the doctor can also use more sophisticated “wireless” monitors, which can be worn for weeks.

Why are Holter Monitor tests necessary?

Irregular heart rhythm is one of the many signs and symptoms of a heart problem. If you have irregular heartbeats (medically known as arrhythmia) or have recently experienced unexplained fainting, your doctor might order a test called an electrocardiogram.  This is a brief, non-invasive test where electrodes are taped on your chest to determine the heart’s rhythm.

However, it is possible that that the electrocardiogram fails to detect any irregularities in your heartbeats since the machines are hooked to the chest for only a short period of time. If your signs and symptoms show that occasional irregular heartbeats might be the main cause for your heart condition, the doctor may recommend that you wear the Holter Monitor for one or two days.

Over time, the device may be able to uncover irregularities in your heart rhythm that the electrocardiogram couldn’t detect.

A doctor might also recommend a Holter Monitor if you have a heart condition that increases the risk of abnormal heart rhythm. As such, your doctor can recommend that you wear the monitor even if you currently don’t have a heart rhythm problem.

Risks Involved

Other than possible discomfort, there are no significant risks in wearing a Holter Monitor. You may also experience skin irritation where the electrodes were placed.

Don’t swim or bathe for the entire duration you’re wearing the Monitors to avoid damaging them. The wireless ones can be disconnected and reconnected when you want to shower; your doctor will show you how.

Contact D. Seldon

Dr. Seldon, a Heart Doctor and Cardiologist in New York City, offers same day appointments and all testing is done on site. Call us at 88.474.9351.



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