Everything About Holter Monitor Test - Uses, Risks, Procedure & Results
The Holter monitoring test is the most widely used form of cardiac test examining the electrical activity of the heart of an individual throughout their daily routine via a wearable device, providing a comprehensive analysis. When a person experiences intermittent episodes of symptoms that might be an indication to a heart rhythm disturbance, the cardiologist may recommend Holter monitoring.
What is a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor, an ambulatory electrocardiogram device, is wearable and records your heart’s rhythm and rate activity. This device provides healthcare provider with a comprehensive insight into your heart’s behavior during your daily activities.
During a Holter monitor test, an individual wears the monitoring device for either 24 or 48 hours. The recorded ECG during this duration is then analyzed for any potential cardiac arrhythmias and signs of cardiac ischemia that might have occurred throughout the monitoring period. The monitor is small, batter operated and equipped with wires and electrodes that is sticks to the skin. Wearing the Holter monitor is painless and meticulously set up by cardiologists.
The Holter monitor derives its name from Norman J. Holter, the physicist credited as its primary inventor during the 1950s.
Who needs Holter Monitoring Test?
Holter monitoring test is recommended if electrocardiogram (ECG) provides inconclusive results, indicating unclear findings.
You might have visited your doctor due to indications of irregular heart rhythm, such as rapid or slow heartbeats, or may have experienced symptoms such as nausea and unexplained fainting. Your doctor initially may have conducted an ECG to diagnose the issue. However, an ECG captures your heart’s activity, and symptoms may not show during the medical visit. However, various cardiac arrhythmias occur infrequently and are completely unpredictably; often present only for brief period. Often, when someone with symptoms tries to reach a medical facility for an ECG recording, the symptoms and the underlying arrhythmia causing them have already gone.
Here lies the significance of the Holter monitor. By continuously recording every heartbeat during an extended period while an individual engages in their daily activities, it significantly improves the chances of detecting underlying arrhythmias.
What conditions can a Holter monitor detect?
A Holter monitor can identify the following:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythms)
- Heart palpitations
- cardiac ischemia
- Unexplained dizziness
Additionally, healthcare provider can utilize a cardiac monitor to assess:
- Oxygen supply to the heart.
- Effectiveness of heart medications.
- Functionality of a pacemaker.
Holter Monitoring Risks and Contradictions
A Holter monitor test is entirely safe and painless. Holter monitor side effects may include the electrodes that are attached to your chest using tape, may cause mild itching, irritation or discomfort. Inform your doctor if you have any known allergies to tapes or adhesives.
Holter Monitoring Test Details
Cardiologist will help you with the instructions before the test to ease your fear and anxiety. During the test, the technician fixes small, round, adhesive electrodes to your chest. If necessary, they may need to shave the area to ensure the electrodes remain securely attached. The monitor is put on and attached to the electrodes. Technician provides few instructions on how to maintain and handle the monitor properly. The heart monitor can be carried in a pocket or bag, wear it using a strap similar to a purse, or attach it to your waist. After 24 or 48 hours, the electrodes and wires are removed, and the recording device is sent back to the laboratory for analysis at the end of the test.
Before the test, eat and drink your regular food, and unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare provider, continue taking your usual medication. Consider bathing before the Holter monitor test as you won’t be able to do so while wearing the monitor.
Activities to avoid while wearing Holter monitor
While using your cardiac monitor, avoid:
- Bathing, showering, or swimming
- Undergoing X-rays
- Being in proximity to high-voltage areas or metal detectors
Holter Monitor Test Results
The cardiologist will contact you with the results within one to two weeks following the test. The findings might reveal a detected heart rhythm irregularity (arrhythmia) such as:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
Cardiologist will review the outcomes with you and determine the necessary actions. This might involve prescribing heart rhythm medications or recommending additional tests.
A note from Medwin Heart Care Clinic
Holter Monitor offers a comprehensive view of your heart’s activity during a span of 24 or 48 hours. This test assists our cardiologist in diagnosing heart issues that may not be evident on a standard ECG. The procedure is painless. Following its completion, Dr. Rishi Bhargava, an Interventional Cardiologist at Medwin Heart Care Clinic, reviews the results and outlines the subsequent actions. Additional testing or medication might be recommended based on the findings. If you are looking for diagnostic test such as Holter Monitoring in Navi Mumbai, you may book an appointment to visit our clinic in Kharghar.