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What is a Holter monitor?

A Holter monitor is a device that continuously records your heart’s rate and rhythm, usually over a period of 24 to 48 hours. The monitor is a small, box-shaped electronic device that is connected with wires (leads) to sticky patches (electrodes) that are placed on the skin of your chest. The monitor is attached to a strap that goes around your shoulder or waist to hold it close to your body.

Deb Cordes
Deb Cordes on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

A holter monitor is a portable device that a patient can wear at home or on the go and it monitors the heart rate and rhythm for 24 to 36 hours. It is normally placed on a patient when the patient is complaining of dizziness, racing heart or any other complaint that might be related to heart rate for rhythm. The holter monitor can be worn during normal activity and the doctor will encourage the patient to continue normal activity. The purpose of the holter is to monitor for any changes in rate/rhythm and any symptoms the patient might have with those changes. Many times the doctor will ask the patient to write down when they have symptoms the date/time and what they felt in a diary. That diary is then compared to the holter to see if there were any changes in rate/rhythm at the time that the patient experienced symptoms.

Holter and 30 Day event monitors are small and portable EKG recording units applied by a trained EKG technician. Patients are able to go about their daily routine while the unit records their heart rhythm for later evaluation.

A Holter monitor is a portable device that detects and monitors your heart’s electrical activity, usually for 24 to 36 hours. Sticky electrode patches that have been applied to your chest transmit information through connecting wires to the Holter monitor, which usually is worn in a pouch around the neck or shoulder, or attached to a belt.

Like an electrocardiogram (ECG), a Holter monitor records your heart’s rhythm and rate, and provides information on the overall condition of your heart. Unlike an ECG, you do not rest quietly during a Holter monitor test. Instead you go about your daily activities while being continuously monitored. You also keep a diary of your activities and any symptoms such as chest pain, a pounding heart, skipped beats, dizziness, or shortness of breath that you experience during the time you are wearing the Holter 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.