Heart Procedures

Holter Monitor

Patient Education from Capital Cardiology Associates

Sometimes patients complain of symptoms that require an electrocardiogram (ECG) to help diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, some patients have a normal ECG in spite of having genuine complaints.

Holter monitoring is a testing method in which the patient wears a portable ECG recorder over an extended period of time while performing normal daily activities – walking, driving, gardening, even sleeping. Because the Holter monitor is used while the patient is moving about, it is sometimes referred to as an ambulatory ECG.

The Holter monitor prints out a graphic chart of changes in the electrical signals generated by the heart. This allows your cardiologist to capture a complete record of the heart’s activity and document shifts in rhythm and the effects of stress or other disturbances over a longer time than would be possible to detect in an office visit.

How long will I need to wear the Holter monitor?
This will be determined by the type of Holter monitor chosen by your doctor.

There are two basic types of Holter monitors:
• Continuous monitors that are usually worn for 24-48 hours.
• Intermittent monitors are worn for much longer periods – sometimes over the course of weeks or months. This method provides a wide range of “snap shots” that allow the cardiologist to review your heart’s activity in a wide variety of situations. These monitors are referred to as “loop recorders.”
• Your doctor will determine which method is best for your situation.

How should I prepare for a Holter monitor?
There are no preparations required. Simply go to the office where your appointment has been made.