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Do I need to do anything special during the Holter monitor test?

In general, you go about your normal daily activities during a Holter monitor test. However, there are a few adjustments you will have to make.

You will have sticky electrode patches applied to your chest for 24 hours or more. During that time, you will not be able to bathe or take a shower. Men with chest hair may have some areas shaved so that the electrode patches will stick to the skin. Sometimes the electrode patches fall off. Your doctor may provide you with a sticky paste and instructions on how to replace them.

You will need to wear the Holter monitor everywhere you go, either on your belt or in a pouch around your neck or shoulder. You will even sleep with the Holter monitor. Some people may feel a little embarrassed to go to work or out in public wearing a Holter monitor. However, it is important to participate in regular daily activities, especially if your heart problem typically occurs during those activities.

Your doctor will tell you whether you should exercise and how vigorously. If you develop a symptom like dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain, stop whatever activity you are doing, so that the Holter recording will reflect only the electrical activity of your heart, not your movements.

It is important to avoid getting close to anything that might interfere with the electrical signals that are transmitted between the electrode patches and the Holter monitor. These include:
  • High voltage lines and powerful magnets
  • Metal detectors
  • Microwave ovens
  • Electric blankets and heating pads
  • Electric toothbrushes, hair dryers and razors
  • Cell phones, iPods and MP3 players - keep these at least six inches from the monitor

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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.