A small portable, battery-powered medical device used to measure the heart’s activity is known as Holter monitor. It measures the heart rate and rhythm. 24-hour Holter study is used to test the functioning of heart, which could not be obtained through an ECG. It is a continuous test during which the the device records the heart rate and rhythm. The electrodes and electrical leads of the device make this test similar to regular electrocardiogram. During the test, the patient will have to wear the Holter monitor for 12-48 hours. It will not hinder the daily routines of the patient. The Holter monitor study is sometimes known as ambulatory electrocardiography.
The doctor suggests a Holter study to a patient when he/she experiences any discomfort or irregularities with the heart functioning. The study also enables the doctor to find whether the heart is getting enough oxygen or if the electrical impulses are held up. Usually, the test is suggested:
- To diagnose problems related to the heart’s rhythm.
- Preparing to start a new heart medicine.
- After a heart attack.
- In monitoring of patients who have heart pacemakers.
- For evaluation of unexplained episodes of fainting and giddiness
The device used (Holter monitor) is small. The monitor will have several wires and leads attached to it. The metal electrodes regulate the heart’s activity through the attached wires. The patient needs to wear a small pouch around the neck to hold the monitor. During the test, the patient can participate in normal activities. The entire testing process is painless and harmless. It is necessary to record each and every rapid heartbeat, chest pain and other cardiac symptoms. The Holter monitor should not get wet during the test.
After 24 hours of monitoring, the doctor will remove the Holter monitor. The doctor then analyses the activity journal and monitor results. The doctor may suggest further tests depending on the results. 24-hour Holter monitoring is not used as the final diagnostic procedure to determine any heart condition. It is a part of the diagnostic process.