A holter monitor is essentially a small heart monitor. The medical device is battery powered and measures different aspects of your heart activity including rate and rhythm. These devices are often prescribed for longer term, pattern monitoring that go beyond the information provided by a electrocardiogram (EKG).
The machine measures your heart rate and rhythm for a period of 12-48 hours as you carry out routine daily activities. The machine uses electrodes to pick up heart rate and rhythm, but also chest pains or irregular heart beats.
The device itself is small, measuring about the same size as a small box or deck of cards. The machine has several wires( referred to as leads) that connect to the above mentioned electrodes which are essentially glued to the skin of your chest. The electrodes deliver signals and information to the small machine. The monitor is held within a small bag or pouch that can be worn around your neck. The aim is to keep the monitor close to your body for most accurate info and readings.
Following the prescribed test period, you will return to your doctor or cardiologist to return the monitor. From there, the monitor’s readings will be assessed and results will be analyzed. The results will be shared with you by your doctor and could take time to process.These results will determine the necessity of further testing.
The Holter monitor helps detect abnormal heart rhythms and other types of cardiac symptoms but also helps to indicate and flag more long term issues. Doctors use the Holter readings to assess oxygen flow and electrical impulse regularity. The monitor goes beyond detection but also helps monitor the effectiveness of medication and other side effects and symptoms and reasons behind these symptoms. Holter monitors are becoming more and more frequent in countries across the world.