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FAQs: Holter Monitor
What is a Holter monitor?

Holter monitors are used when an electrocardiograph (ECG) might not suffice for the information that your doctor requires. Unfortunately an ECG will only measure you heart's electrical conduction the moment you are connected to the machine, which is less than a few minutes. This can make capturing occasional arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm) or understanding chest pain events difficult. The Holter has the advantage of monitoring you over a period of 24 hours, recording all information on a very small computer chip. The Holter can also effectively mark an event (an episode of dizziness, breathlessness, chest pain or palpitations) when you press its button, so the reviewer can easily recognise what happened at that particular point.


What should I expect?
How long will it take?
Where will it be done?

Good skin preparation is the important key to a Holter monitor that is easy for the cardiologist to review. This may involve cleaning down the skin with an alcohol wipe or shaving hairs in the required areas. Once you are comfortable on the examination bed, sticky dots or ECG electrodes will be placed on specific areas and then taped down. The Holter is the size of a small walkman and can be placed in a pouch so it may be slung across your shoulder. An event diary will also be given to you to record the time of any activities, medications or heart events. The monitor is not water-resistant, so no showers or baths can be taken during the recording. The Holter only takes a few minutes to prepare its placement and even less time to remove. When you do return to us the following day, the completed event diary will be taken and care will be given in removing the sticky dots. The monitor use is safe and comfortable, with the Holter being neither bulky nor cumbersome.

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