What is a 24 Hour Holter Monitor?

A Holter Monitor is a small computerised device, no larger than a mobile phone, which is used to continuously detect and record all heart rhythms over a 24 hour period – usually 100,000 heart beats in a day!
You wear the Holter Monitor for 24 hours – it is easy and painless.

Why is a 24 Hour Holter Monitor done?

Your General Practitioner may request this test if you suffer palpitations (where your heart beats excessively or abnormally), to determine if your heart goes “too fast” or “too slow”, to investigate dizziness, light-headedness or blackouts, to test the effects of some cardiac medications or if you have a known cardiac condition.

It is often hard to pick up an unusual heart rhythm unless it occurs when you are at your Doctor’s rooms or the hospital. The Holter Monitor will record every heart beat for a 24 hour period. Hopefully, by covering a longer period your unusual heart rhythm will be recorded.

A Holter Monitor helps evaluate the type and amount of irregular heart beats during usual physical activities, exercise and sleep.

How should I prepare for a 24 Hour Holter Monitor?

As you wear the Holter Monitor continuously for a 24 hour period and as it is an electronic device which cannot get wet, it is beneficial to shower before the Holter is fitted.
It is advisable to wear a two piece outfit with a loose top while doing the test.
Please do not use cream or talc on your chest area on the day of the test.
Take your usual medications (unless your Doctor advises otherwise). Please bring a list of your medications and your referral.

What is involved?

To allow our Nurse to fit the Holter Monitor you will need to remove your blouse or shirt.
Our Nurse puts 3 small adhesive patches called electrodes on your chest  to detect the electrical pulses in your heart.
A nurse will use an alcohol swab to prepare your skin where the electrodes will be placed. The alcohol may feel cold.
Some men may need small areas of their chest shaved to ensure the electrodes adhere well.
The electrodes are connected to wires called leads which are attached to a small recording box. The box is stored in a cloth pouch and worn as a belt for the duration of the test.
Please be careful not to get the recorder wet. You will not be able to shower while you wear the recorder, so it is beneficial to shower before the Holter is fitted.
Once the Monitor is in place, do not touch or adjust the electrodes or the Monitor.
You are then ready to wear the Holter Monitor for a “regular” day – carry on with normal activities, however, very strenuous activities eg lawnmowing can interfere with data recording.

Please record your activities and any symptoms (eg palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest, neck, arm or jaw discomfort, excessive fatigue, nausea etc.) and the time and duration you experience them in the Event Diary to help the Doctor make a more accurate evaluation. Please also record the circumstances associated with the symptoms.
Keep the Diary and a pen with you at all times.
Do not have X-rays taken while wearing the Holter Monitor.
Having worn the Monitor for 24 hours, please return the Holter Monitor to Peninsula Cardiology Centre. Our Cardiologist will report on the heart rhythms.

How long will it take?

It only takes about 15 minutes to have the Holter Monitor put on. The patient will return the next day to have the Monitor removed, this should only take 10 minutes. Please bring your completed Diary.

Does it hurt?

The procedure is totally painless. The use of the Monitor is safe and comfortable, as it is particularly compact. The electrodes may sometimes leave red marks, these will fade away in a few days time.

When will my referring GP get the report?

The data is downloaded and analysed and a report prepared. A Cardiologist will review the test results. Your General Practitioner will receive the report by electornic mail. They are usually mailed within one- two working days at the end of the test.

How soon can I get an appointment?

Patients can usually obtain an appointment at Peninsula Cardiology Centre for a Holter Monitor Test on the same day or within one working day.