Holter Monitors & Event Recorders
Holter monitors are portable devices that record your heart’s electrical activity through electrocardiograms or ECG (also known as an EKG). This information can show changes in your heart rhythm throughout the day. The device is a small ECG monitor carried with a shoulder strap or worn on a belt. It is connected to electrode patches placed on your chest. You wear the device as you go about your daily activities.
A Holter monitor is worn for 24 hours and is generally used for patients who may experience symptoms of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) one or more times a day. An event recorder is used for patients who experience symptoms less often and is worn for several days or weeks. When wearing an event recorder, patients are asked to push the record button when they feel the symptoms of an abnormal rhythm. They then call their doctor’s office, and the recording is sent over the phone.
How are these devices worn?
If you will be wearing a Holter monitor, electrode patches will be placed on your chest at your doctor’s office. These patches are connected to the monitor via thin wires. If you are wearing an event recorder, you will learn how to attach and remove the patches yourself. You will also learn how to record your heart rhythm and how to send the recording over the phone.
Are there any special instructions I should follow while wearing the device?
Keep a journal and use it to write down what you were doing and at what time the symptoms of the abnormal rhythm happened. This information helps your doctor see how your heart acts during different activities.
Additionally, to avoid wetting the electrode patches, do not shower or bathe during the 24 hours that you are wearing the Holter monitor. With an event recorder, simply remove the patches before bathing or showering. Also, wear loose-fitting clothes that do not get in the way of the wires connecting the patches and monitor.
What will I feel when wearing a Holter monitor or event recorder?
You should not feel any discomfort while wearing either device. Patients with sensitive skin may have a slight reaction to the electrode patches, in which case skin cream or lotion will help reduce irritation after the patches are removed.
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