A Simple Explanation
A Holter Monitor is a portable device that is used to keep track of your heart rhythm, for 24 hours or more, during normal activity.
This is a small battery-operated medical gadget that records a patient’s ECG for a period of 24 hours or more.
This device has electrodes and electrical leads like the regular ECG, but with fewer leads.
The doctor recommends this device for more information about the patient’s heart’s functioning, which routine Electrocardiogram (ECG) cannot give because of the short duration of testing.
This is the monitoring process where the patient has to wear the device for 12 to 48 hours doing their routine activities. This is sometimes called Ambulatory Electrocardiography.
Why is it required?
A primary reason is to record abnormal heart rhythms, which can be of a short period that cannot be identified in routine resting ECG.
The monitor recordings will help the doctor determine the ECG pattern.
It can also help in diagnosing the unexplained symptoms of irregular heartbeat; dizziness, faintness or feeling your heart is racing or skipping a beat.
The Actual monitoring
The Holter monitoring is painless. The Holter Monitor’s metal Electrodes are placed on the chest with a glue-like gel. These electrodes conduct the heart’s activity through the wires and then to the Holter monitor.
The monitor is kept in a small pouch around your neck. The monitor’s closeness to the patient’s body helps to get a more accurate reading. The doctor will show how to reattach the electrodes in case of loose connection or fall off during this testing period.
The patient has to record all normal activities in a notebook. This will help the doctor associate your heart rate with your behavior and movements.
Once the time recommended by the doctor is over, the patient will return to have the monitor removed.
The doctor will read the patient’s activity journal and analyze the monitor’s results. Depending on the results of this test, there might further testing before a diagnosis is made.
The monitor will help in revealing if the patient’s medication is working or needs to be altered. This is in the case of the patient taking medicines for abnormal heart rhythm.
Avoid bathing, swimming and showering during this monitoring period.
Don’t apply any lotion or cream.
Avoid areas of high voltage since magnetic and electrical fields may interfere with the monitor’s function.
Remember to inform the doctor, if allergic to any tapes or adhesives.
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