These monitors record your hearts electrical activity. This is very similar to an electrocardiogram. These tests are simple ways to diagnose heart rhythm problems. Monitors are small, portable devices; you can wear one while doing your normal daily activates. This allows the monitors to record your heart for a longer time than an EKG. Some people have heart rhythm problems that occur only during certain activities, such as sleeping or physical exertion. Using a monitor records your heart’s electrical activity only at certain times while you’re wearing it.
Event monitors are worn for 24 hours.
Holter monitors are worn for 30 days.
Before using a monitor:
Someone from our office will:
- Check your pulse to find your heart rate and whether your heart rhythm is steady or irregular.
- Check the leads to make sure they are working correctly.
- Then you will be taught how to place the leads and how to use the monitor.
During the test:
Your experience while using a Holter or Event monitor will vary from patient to patient. In most cases, the sensors are attached to your chest using electrodes. Wires connect the electrodes to the monitor. You’ll be able to clip the monitor to your belt or carry it in your pocket.
A good stick between the electrodes and your skin helps provide a clear signal. Poor contact leads to a poor recording that’s hard for your doctor to read. Oil, too much sweat, and hair can keep the patches from sticking to your skin. You may need to shave the area where the electrodes are placed. If you have to replace the patches, you’ll need to clean the area with a special prep pad that our office will provide.
Too much movement can pull the patches away from your skin or create “noise” on the EKG strip (an EKG strip is a graph showing the pattern of the heartbeat) Noise looks like a lot of jagged lines; it makes it hard for your doctor to see the true rhythm of your heart.
When you have a symptom, stop what you’re doing. This will ensure that the recording shows your heart’s activity rather than your movement.
Your doctor will tell you whether you need to adjust your activity level during the testing period. If you exercise, choose a cool location to avoid sweating too much. This will help the patches stay in place.
Other everyday items can disrupt the signal between the sensors and the monitor. These items include magnets; metal detectors; microwave ovens, and electric blankets, toothbrushes and razors. Also avoid areas with high voltage, cellphones and MP3 players (such as iPods)