Holter Monitor: What Does it Detect?
A Holter test is performed by a doctor to record a patient’s heartbeats. Using a Holter monitor, doctors are able to determine if the patient has any heart rhythm discrepancies. The Holter test might seem a tad inconvenient, but we can assure you, the test is effective and important for diagnosis.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Holter monitor and what it detects:
Why the Holter Test is Done
A Holter test is ordered when a doctor detects an irregular arrhythmia in a patient or irregular fainting is occurring. Usually, a doctor will perform an electrocardiogram before a Holter test. An electrocardiogram is a short test that uses electrodes connected to your chest to read your heart’s rhythm. Because the test is brief, it can be difficult to detect an irregular heartbeat.
If an electrocardiogram is inconclusive, a doctor will order a Holter test. This test is also connected to the patient by electrodes but is worn for at least 1 to 2 days. It’s likely that a heart condition will be detected within that period.
During the Holter Monitor Test
The Holter monitor will be attached to your belt or pant strap. The electrodes are taped to your chest and can be easily hidden under your clothes. You can’t remove the monitor and it must be kept on at all times.
Your doctor will have you return to your normal daily activities and the test will last for a couple of days. However, a wireless Holter monitor can be used for weeks. Keep an accurate and specific daily diary of your routine while you are being monitored. This will make it easier for your doctor to detect what activities are causing an irregular heart rhythm.
If begin experiencing symptoms, like chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, document it in your diary. Again, this will allow for an accurate diagnosis.
What Not to Do
When wearing a Holter monitor, the patient may experience itchiness where the electrodes were placed. It’s important that you don’t remove them. The Holter monitor cannot get wet. This means no showering or swimming for the period of testing. When using a wireless Holter Monitor, the patient is able to disconnect and shower if needed.
Avoid metal detectors, magnets, microwaves, electric blankets, and electric razors and toothbrushes, and cell phones. These devices can possibly interrupt the signal to the Holter monitor.
After the Test
Once you have worn the Holter monitor for the designated time, your doctor will go over the recording and your diary. A Holter test can determine if you have a heart condition, but it is possible that more tests will be needed. If you didn’t experience any irregular heartbeats while being monitored, more tests will definitely be necessary.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a heart condition, see a doctor immediately.
Here at GMP Medical, our family is dedicated to caring for our patients. We offer a range of health services such as allergy testing, lab work, IV therapy, and of course, Holter monitoring. Request an appointment today for all of your healthcare needs.
June 28, 2018 4:56 pm
Categories: Family Health