A Holter monitor is a type of electrocardiography (ECG) device primarily used for cardiac monitoring. It is frequently employed to record the electrical activity of the patient’s heart continuously for around 24 to 48 hours or even longer. Doctors may also recommend this test to observe the occasional cardiac arrhythmias that are difficult to identify using a standard ECG.
How is Holter Monitoring performed? :
The Holter monitor recording is generally done on an outpatient basis. The patient will be asked to remove his clothes from the waist up, and a gown or sheet will be provided to cover up his body. The regions on the chest where the electrode patches will be attached are cleaned. If the patient has a hairy chest, then the technician shaves or clips some hair to ensure that the electrodes stick closely to the skin. After this, the technician sticks the electrode patches to the patient’s chest and abdomen. These are then connected to the Holter monitor using wires.
The monitor can either be slung across the shoulders and neck, attached to the waist, or carried in a pocket. Once the monitor is set in place, the patient is permitted to return to his daily routine. The patient can carry out usual work, household chores, or exercise while wearing this monitor but refrain from doing certain activities. These include bathing, showering, swimming, and having x – rays while wearing the monitor. He will also be asked to stay away from high–voltage areas and places with large magnets or metal detectors during the test period.
Apart from this, the patient will be issued specific instructions to keep a diary of the activities and symptoms experienced throughout the test. The date and time of onset of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, etc., must be noted in the diary.
These will be compared with the changes in the ECG recorded by the Holter monitor at the end of the test.
Read about various diagnostic tests to assess risk of heart diseases.
Are there any risks involved in it? :
Holter monitors are safe and do not cause any pain or complications to the patient. But, there is a possibility of mild skin irritation and tissue breakdown at the application site as the electrodes are attached using tapes or adhesives.
Other Diagnostic tests
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- Which are the Blood Tests for diagnosing cardiac diseases?
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Cardiac CT Scan- Cardiac Computed Tomography
- Echocardiography: Diagnostic Cardiac Ultrasound Scan
FAQs: duration, cost and preparation
What preparations are required from the patient?
The patient is not required to fast before the test. He is advised to bathe or shower before having the monitor fitted.
How long does it take?
The Holter monitor is a continuous test that records the heart rate and rhythm for at least 24 to 48 hours.
Who performs Holter Monitoring?
A cardiac technician generally attaches the Holter monitor to the patient.
How much does it cost?
It costs around Rs. 2K to 4 K to get a Holter monitor test done.
When can I go home after the procedure?
The patient can resume his normal routine and diet after the test period.