ZocdocAnswersWhat can a Holter monitor tell me about my heart?

Question

What can a Holter monitor tell me about my heart?

I am a 37 year old woman and I will have a Holter monitor hooked up to me as part of a clinical trial. What will it tell doctors about my heart?

Answer

A Holter monitor is a portable device that doctors use to help gain more information about the electrical activity of the heart. The device involves attaching several stickers ("leads") to the chest wall, which are connected to a small recording device typically worn on a belt or fanny pack. The device records the continuous electrical activity of the heart. When the study period is over (generally 1-2 days) the recording device is analyzed. It will reveal the different heart rhythms that are present and the range of the heart rate throughout the day. A Holter monitor is often recommended as a way of screening for any arrhythmia in patients that have complained of symptoms that may be suggestive of an underlying irregular heart rate or rhythm. The Holter can detect these abnormalities if they occur, which can help your physicians to make a diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment.

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