A Holter monitor uses a portable heart rhythm recorder worn for 1-2 days. Holter monitoring gives doctors a constant reading of your heart rate and rhythm over a 24 hour period. It constantly monitors a person’s heart and records the heart rhythm for later analysis by the physician. The patient is instructed to keep an activity log where he or she can write notes when symptoms occur.
What to expect
All monitors record the heart’s electrical activity. Therefore, maintaining a clear signal between the sensors (electrodes) and the recording device is important. In most cases, the sensors are attached to your chest using sticky patches. Wires connect the sensors to the monitor. You usually can clip the monitor to your belt or carry it in your pocket (postevent recorders and implantable loop recorders don’t have chest sensors).
Your doctor will explain how to wear and use the Holter or event monitor. Usually, you’ll leave the office wearing it. Each type of monitor is slightly different, but most have sensors (called electrodes) that attach to the skin on your chest using sticky patches.
The sensors need good contact with your skin. Poor contact can cause poor results. Oil, too much sweat, and hair can keep the patches from sticking to your skin. You may need to shave the area on your chest where your doctor will attach the patches. If you have to replace the patches, you’ll need to clean the area with a special prep pad that the doctor will provide. You may need to use a small amount of special paste or gel to help the patches stick to your skin. Some patches come with paste or gel on them.