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A Holter monitor is used to monitor and record the heart’s electrical activity over a 24 or 48 hour period. An Event Recorder is the same type of monitor but allows recording of abnormal heart rhythms for one to two months.
The Holter monitor is a small ambulatory, portable ECG machine that can provide the following information:
The Holter monitor is worn over a 24 or 48 hour period while the patient does all of his/her normal activities. Small, sticky patches called electrodes are attached to the chest. Wires travel from the electrodes to a small portable box that is worn on the belt or shoulder strap. The box records and stores continuous heart rhythm data transmitted by the electrodes. The patient must keep a diary of activities, and of any symptoms, that occur while the monitor is in place. This will allow the doctor to correlate activities with symptoms with the heart’s electrical rhythm at a specific point in time. The patient will also be advised of how to care for the monitor while wearing it. When the 24 or 48 hour period is completed, or longer for the event monitor, the patient returns the Holter monitor to the hospital, and a technician does a computerized analysis of the Holter monitor data to prepare a thorough report for the physician.
The holter monitor placement takes about 10 to 20 minutes to complete.