The Holter monitor is a portable device used to make a continuous recording of your heart rate and rhythm as you go about your daily routine. Information from the device is used to detect any heart rhythm abnormalities, to help determine whether your medications need adjusting, or to match symptoms with heart activity.
If you have signs and symptoms of an arrhythmia such as palpitations (episodes of rapid heartbeats) or unexplained fainting or dizziness, your doctor may recommend wearing a Holter monitor for 48 hours. Over that period of time, abnormalities in your heart rate and rhythm can be recorded. Additionally, you can press the Event Button whenever you feel a specific symptom which helps to document how your symptoms might be related to any abnormal electrical activity in your heart.
Your doctor must order this test and fully complete a requisition form. Your doctor will contact the Cardiac Diagnostic Centre to book the appointment. The office staff will contact you with the date and time. If you are given a requisition, you must bring it with you. A few days before your scheduled appointment, you will receive an automated phone call reminder of your appointment.
If you need to change the appointment date, you can contact the Cardiac Diagnostic Centre at 613-761-4639.
At your appointment, you can expect the following:
- Seven small areas on your chest will be cleaned, marked, and then lightly rubbed with fine sandpaper. If necessary, the areas will be clipped of hair and/or a special tincture may be used to ensure better electrode adhesion.
- Electrodes clipped to wires will be applied to each prepared site on your chest. The wires will be secured onto your skin with tape.
- The wires and cable are connected to the Holter device which is then placed in a plastic holder and worn on a belt or clipped to your clothes.
- The Holter technician will instruct you to press the Event button when experiencing symptoms. You will be provided with a diary in which you can record any symptoms experienced including the time and activity level associated with the symptom. If you do not experience any symptoms during the monitoring period, return the diary and write “no symptoms” in the diary.
- You will be instructed to remove the monitor at a specified time and to discard the used, as well as unused, electrodes.
- The equipment should be removed by hand only.
- Scissors and other sharp tools should not be used to remove gauze or tape.
- Sharp tools should not be used near any parts of the equipment.
- Place the equipment in a clean bag and return by the time specified.
- Once the equipment is returned, the data are analyzed, and then reviewed by a cardiologist. Once finalized, a report will be sent to your doctor within 10 business days. Your doctor’s office will notify you of the results.
Bring all of your medications to your appointment in their original containers, including any vitamins or supplements that you take. Wear comfortable clothing and please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
If you are a man with a hairy chest, you may opt to shave in advance.
It is important to bring the monitor back at the scheduled time; another patient is waiting.