A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that tracks your heart rate. Your doctor may ask you to wear a Holter monitor for a day or two. During this time, the device records your entire heart rate. Your doctor will use the information recorded on the Holter monitor to determine if you have a heart rhythm problem. If standard Holter monitoring does not record your irregular heartbeat, your doctor may recommend a Holter wireless monitor that can work for weeks. Some personal devices, such as smartwatches, provide electrocardiogram monitors.
Holter monitor is a type of portable electrocardiogram (ECG). This device records the electrical activity of the heart continuously for 24 hours or more while you are away from the doctor’s office. The standard Holter or “rest” is one of the simplest and fastest tests used to assess the heart. Small pieces of plastic (electrodes) are placed at specific points on the chest and abdomen (abdomen). The electrodes are connected by wire to the Holter device. With this device, the electrical activity of the heart can be measured, recorded and printed. No electricity is sent to the body during this test.
Natural electrical pulses coordinate contractions in different parts of the heart. This causes the blood to flow the way it should. An ECG records these beats to show if your heart is working normally (steady or irregular). It also records the weakness and timing of electrical movements. Changes in the ECG can be a sign of many heart-related diseases.
If you have symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, constant tiredness, or palpitations, your doctor may ask you to use a Holter monitor because resting electrocardiograms do not determine the cause of the problem. If the ECG shows a problem at rest, a Holter monitor may be ordered, but more information is needed. You attach the same pieces of ECG electrode to your chest, and the electrodes are wired to a small monitor box (portable recorder).
Some abnormal heartbeats may only occur occasionally. Or they may occur only in certain situations, such as stress or activity, which are difficult to record on an ECG in the office. For this reason, your doctor may use a Holter monitor for a better chance of recording an abnormal heart rhythm or heartbeat that may be causing symptoms. Some holsters also have an event monitor feature that you activate when you see signs.
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