What you can expect
The process of Holter monitoring involves the following:
- Before your appointment with your cardiologist for the Holter monitor fitting, you may wish to shower or bath. You won’t be able to do so once you’re wearing the monitor, which should not be removed during the test period and can also be damaged by water. Some patients may need to have small portions of hair on their chest shaved to allow the electrodes to connect properly.
- Once at your cardiologist’s office, you’ll be fitted for a Holter monitor. A nurse will stick the electrodes to your skin. Once you’re wearing the monitor, the electrodes and wires will be hidden by your clothing.
- Once fitted, you’ll wear the monitor day and night for the amount of time indicated by your cardiologist. The electrodes on the Holter monitor detect the heart’s electrical activity and transmit this information through the leads to the monitor, which continuously records this data.
- You’ll be asked to continue your regular activities and to log these activities and any symptoms. Whenever you experience heart symptoms while wearing the monitor, you’ll write down the symptom, the date and time, and what activity you were doing at that time.
- After the testing period, you’ll return the Holter monitor to the cardiologist’s office and give your activity/symptom log to the cardiologist. Your cardiologist will compare your symptom log against the data gathered by the monitor to see how your heart responded when you performed certain activities. Remember, your cardiologist can only review the results once you return the monitor to the office. Reviewing the findings and providing the results can take some time.
Wearing a Holter monitor is safe. However, if you have an adhesive allergy, let your doctor and nurse know, as the electrodes are attached to the skin with adhesive.