The Holter monitor measures the natural electrical impulses of the heart. The monitor will show:
· How fast your heart is beating.
· The rhythm of your heart (e.g. whether it is steady or irregular).
· The strength of the electrical impulses.
· The timing of the electrical impulses. A Holter monitor is most commonly used to diagnose an arrhythmia, which is an abnormality in your heart rhythm. It could be that your heart beats too fast, too slowly or at an irregular rate. Different abnormalities are usually associated with different types of arrhythmias.
A 24 hour ECG Holter monitor is a small portable electrocardiogram (ECG) device that measures and records the rhythm of your heart continuously over a period of time. It is used to identify any irregularities in your heartrate, known as arrhythmias. Holter monitors allow a cardiologist to assess your heartrate, heart rhythm and the electrical activity of your heart. They show important information about your overall cardiac health over a period of time. Every time your heart beats, electrical signals are transmitted to different areas of your heart. These signals keep the blood flowing through your heart correctly. An ECG Holter monitor measures these signals to check whether your heart is beating at a normal rate.
Other cardiac tests, such as traditional ECGs, only provide a snapshot of your heart rate over a 10 or 15 seconds period. This makes it difficult to record an arrhythmia, which often occurs intermittently. As a Holter monitor records your heart over a prolonged period of time, it is much more likely to detect abnormal heartbeats or rhythms, allowing your cardiologist to make a more accurate diagnosis.
A Holter monitor may be recommended if:
· You have symptoms of an irregular heart beat, such as an accelerated or slow heart rate or palpitations.
· You experience unexplained loss of consciousness.
· You experience episodes of dizziness.
· You experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, ongoing fatigue or low blood pressure.
· You have another heart condition that increases your risk of arrhythmia.
· You have previously had a heart attack, as this can increase your risk of arrhythmia.
In many cases, your cardiologist may have already requested a traditional ECG. If no abnormal results were recorded, your cardiologist may then request an ECG Holter Monitor.
You do not need to attend the clinic for this test. Instead, the Holter device will be delivered directly to your home. You will be given clear instructions on how to fit the device to your chest. Once your recording is completed, we will send a courier to your home to collect the device. Your results will be analysed in our clinic by an experienced heart doctor.
An ECG Holter monitor is a painless, non-invasive procedure. You will be asked to wear the monitor for between 24 hours and 14 days, depending on the frequency and severity of your symptoms. You will apply two electrodes (small sticky patches) to your chest. The electrodes will then be connected to a small, portable machine that you carry around with you. The wires will be hidden under your clothing, so no one will be able to see them. You will need to wear the monitor constantly for the amount of time your doctor tells you, including when you sleep. You can continue all your usual daily activities while wearing the monitor. The monitor may occasionally prompt you to write down any symptoms that you are experiencing at that time, for example, shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness. This allows the cardiologist to correspond your symptoms with a specific type of arrhythmia. Once the recording is complete and we have received your monitor, your written notes will be compared to the results from the Holter monitor to ensure a more accurate diagnosis. The results will be available to you within 24-48 hours and your cardiologist will discuss the results with you in detail.