The Holter Monitor: A Wearable Heart Activity Monitoring Device

What Is a Holter Monitor?

A Holter monitor is a wearable device that tracks your heart’s rhythm. It is sometimes assigned to patients to collect additional information about heart activity outside the clinical setting.

When to Use It

Primarily, a doctor may choose to use this holter monitor when a traditional electrocardiogram (ECG) test fails to produce enough information about a patient’s heart activity. If a problem is still suspected but not confirmed or if additional monitoring is needed, the monitor provides another option for gathering data.

Why Use It?

As with the ECG testing, the holter monitor device may provide insight when a patient has expressed any symptoms that could indicate a heart problem. These symptoms may include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, confusion, dizziness, weakness, or elevated pulse. Additionally, they are helpful when monitoring the success of any treatments.

What Are the Risks?

This holter monitor alone does not present any risk to the patient, aside from potential discomfort from the adhesive where the electrodes attach. However, the wearer should not allow the monitor to get wet, or it will become damaged.

What to Expect

Doctors, nurses, or technicians can assist a patient in fitting the monitor and instruct them on how to wear it. Wearers can easily hide electrodes under their clothes. They may also hang the monitor from a strap or attach it to a belt. The patient will carry out their daily activities, taking note of what they do, when they do it, and if and when they experience any symptoms. Doctors typically prescribe wearing the device for 24 to 48 hours.