Holter monitor: Portable ECG device used for assessing heart function

Holter monitor is very effective way to determine the condition of your heart and cardiovascular system. It is worn for about 24 hours in order to record electrical activity of your heart during day and night.

Unlike with standard electrocardiogram which is done in a few minutes at your doctors office, holter monitor is a portable device. After they put it on, you can go home with it and do all the activites you usually do.

Actually, you are encouraged to do so, in order to get more reliable measurements. However, activities such as swimming and showering are forbidden for obvious reasons.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE TEST

Because of this, you should shower day before the test. Some people may have to shave their chest in order to place the electrodes. Besides that, there really isn't anything else you should do. Although, from my personal experience I would advise you to wear some loose fitting shirt or light jacket.

I say this because the holter monitor you will be wearing is somewhat big and you don't want it to stick out under your shirt for everyone else to see. Also, with all those wires and cables you will look like a terminator but loose fitting clothes will help you hide it.

WHAT IS TEST USED FOR

AS well as basic electrocardiogram, holter test is also used to record electrical activity of your heart as well as heart rhythm. However, it records the heart rhythm throughout the day because of which is even better in detecting:

  • Arrhythmias and palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • Fast or slow heart rate
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • It can also be used to detect poor blood flow to the heart but additional test are required to verify the diagnosis. But when it comes to estimating heart function, 24-hours holter monitor is one of the best diagnostic tools out there.

    KEEPING A DIARY DURING THE TEST

    The doctor will give you a piece of paper and tell you to write down any strange feeling you may expirience while wearing the holter monitor. You should write down the exact time, duration and describe the feeling you may experience.

    According to your notes, the doctor can check the recorded activity from the device and compare it with whatever you were feeling at the time. For instance, if you have mild chest pain at lets say 21:34 hours, the doctor will check the results from the holter monitor to see are there any strange readings recorder at the time.

    Although this helps establish diagnosis, strange feeling you may have, can be caused by a mild stomach ache, for example.

    HOW TO BEHAVE DURING THE TEST

    After you have gone home, you can go about by your business. While the doctor will tell you to do all the things you usually do, not that many people will actually do it. The reason is that people don't want to walk around with the device and cables attached to them for everyone to see.

    Although this would give better test results, people rarely do it, especially during the summer. While during winter you can cover it with clothes, during the summer, it is almost impossible to do.

    Because of this, it is better to do the holter monitor test during winter if you can. Also taking a day off from the job can help. However, in the end, it is not a big deal and the test is painless, reliable and very safe.

    Also avoid certain devices such as metal detectors and magnets. The test results are available in a few days.





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