A Holter monitor (often simply Holter) is a type of ambulatory electrocardiography device, a portable device for cardiac monitoring (the monitoring of the electrical activity of the cardiovascular system) for at least 24 hours (often for two weeks at a time).The Holter’s most common use is for monitoring ECG heart activity (electrocardiography or ECG). Its extended recording period is sometimes useful for observing occasional cardiac arrhythmias which would be difficult to identify in a shorter period. When used to study the heart, much like standard electrocardiography, the Holter monitor records electrical signals from the heart via a series of electrodes attached to the chest. Electrodes are placed over bones to minimize artifacts from muscular activity. The number and position of electrodes varies by model, but most Holter monitors employ between three and eight. These electrodes are connected to a small piece of equipment that is attached to the patient’s belt or hung around the neck, keeping a log of the heart’s electrical activity throughout the recording period.
How to prepare for Holter Monitoring
- You will be asked to verify information including address, phone number and referring doctors. (In case we need to contact you.)
- You will be asked to sign an agreement of responsibility for the care and safety of the equipment and the timely return of it. *You are responsible for the equipment and you will be billed for any loss or damage.
- Do not wear any creams, lotions, perfumes or cologne
- Wear loose fitting clothing that can be opened in the front to place the electrodes
- Bring a list of current medications and your health card.
- Be prepared to wear the monitor continuously for the period of time it was requested
- A medical professional staff person will prepare your chest (men may need patches of shaving). They will apply electrodes and tape them in place. The wires will then be attached to the electrodes.
- The wires will be attached to a monitor that stores the data and be placed in a pouch with a strap that will hang over your shoulder.
- The monitor will collect every heart beat for the prescribed period of time
- You will be given a booklet to record any symptoms you have during the recording period. (see below)
- Your name and health card number will be programmed into the equipment so we will know it is your monitor when it is returned.
- Your patient diary has the clinic contact information, when you are to remove and return the equipment, a place to list your medications and most importantly to record any symptoms. It is import to record an exact date and time with your symptom so we can look at that exact area of the study.
Removing and Returning the equipment.
There is no off button on the recorder. Peel the electrodes and tape off your skin. They can be discarded in the garbage. Minimal skin irritation when the tape and electrodes are removed is expected. If there is any significant skin damage please alert the staff and contact your doctor or pharmacy for further care. The monitor, wires, pouch and strap must all be returned.
- Be sure not to use any scissors near the equipment.
- Do not remove the batteries.
- Keep pets away from all the equipment.
- Do not get the equipment wet.
- Return the monitor, leads and diary to Kawartha Cardiology, Main lobby (someone may do this for you)
14 day monitors
There are only 3 electrodes and wires. You will be given instructions on how to remove the monitor for bathing and replacing the electrodes. It is important to change the electrodes and tape every other day as the electrodes will dry out. It is very important to put specific date and times with all symptoms so we can find the exact spot in the recording.
There is a green light flashing on the top of the monitor. –This means the monitor is recording.
The screen is blank. – the monitor has stopped working: call the office
How will you know it is my monitor when I return it? –Your name and health number are programmed in to the monitor
I can’t return the monitor on the specified date or time. –Contact the office. Monitors are booked to go out on another patient the day they are to be returned. (late fees will apply if no arrangements have been made)