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Why would I need a Holter monitor test?

Holter monitoring is usually used to solve a medical mystery. For example, you may be experiencing heart palpitations (an irregular heart rhythm), but nothing abnormal shows up on a standard electrocardiogram (ECG). A Holter monitor can provide more clues for your doctor to use in solving the mystery.

A standard ECG records the electrical activity of your heart for only a few seconds. By comparison, you wear a Holter monitor for 24 to 48 hours. And unlike an ECG, you do not rest quietly during Holter monitoring. Instead you go about your daily activities while being continuously monitored. You also keep a diary of your activities and any symptoms.

As a result, an abnormality that comes and goes, or occurs only during certain activities or certain times of the day, is more likely to be detected by the Holter monitor.

The most common reasons for getting a Holter monitor test are:

  • Unexplained fainting or dizziness
  • Palpitations, or a feeling that your heart is fluttering or beating too hard or too fast

If you have already been diagnosed with a heart problem, your doctor may use the Holter monitor to gauge how well your therapy is working. Similarly, if you have a heart condition that makes you more prone to developing a rhythm abnormality, your doctor may use a Holter monitor to detect the arrhythmia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.