A Holter monitor is a continuous digital recording of a patient’s electrocardiogram (EKG) for 24 -48 hours. Since it is worn during the patient’s regular daily activities, it helps the physician correlate symptoms of dizziness, palpitations (a sensation of fast or irregular heart rhythm), chest pain, or syncope (black outs). Since the recording covers 24 -48 hours, Holter monitoring is much more likely to detect an abnormal heart rhythm when compared to an EKG which lasts less than a minute. It can also help evaluate the patient’s EKG during episodes of chest pain.
What to Expect: A Holter monitor is applied in the office and the patient is required to disrobe from the waist up. The chest is cleansed with an alcohol solution to ensure good attachment of the sticky EKG electrodes. Men with hairy chests may require small areas of hair to be clipped. The electrodes are applied to the chest, usually five. Thin wires are then used to connect the electrodes to a small digital recorder. The digital recorder is secured to the patient’s belt or it can be slung over the shoulder and neck with the use of a disposable pouch. The recorder is worn for 24 hours and the patient is encouraged to continue his or her daily activities. To avoid getting the setup wet and damaging the recorder, the patient will not be able to shower or bath for the duration of the test. A diary or log is provided so that the patient can record activity and symptoms. The Holter monitor has an internal clock which stamps the time on the EKG strips allowing for correlation between symptoms, activity, and heart rhythm. After 24 hours, the Holter monitor is returned to the office. The recordings are converted into multiple EKG strips that are recorded on to graph paper, which is then reviewed by the physician for final interpretation. This test is painless and does not require any needles, dye, or radiation. Application and instructions usually take approximately 15 minutes.
Preparation: There are no specific preparations required. However, a two-piece loose fitting outfit is advised.
Locations: Currently, this test can be done in our Farmington Hills, and Novi offices.