A Holter monitor
200px-Holter monitor

6 Months / 15 Minutes
12 Months / 60 Minutes
12 Months / 60 Minutes
12 Months / 60 Minutes
0 Months / 120 Minutes

Batteries, ECG Leads


An Ambulatory electrocardiography device or Holter Monitor device is a small, mobile healthcare device that monitors heart rhythms while a person is engaged in normal activities. The ambulatory electrocardiography (EKG) consists of 3 to 7 electrodes that are attached to the surface of the person’s skin. The electrodes are wired to a small Holter monitor that can fit in a shirt pocket. Some Holter monitors can be worn around a person’s waist or neck. Usually, a Holter monitor is powered by batteries. The Holter monitor is named for Dr. Norman J. Holter who invented telemetric cardiac monitoring in 1949

How Is a Holter Monitor Test Performed?[]

Little preparation is needed before wearing a Holter monitor. The area of skin where an electrode will be placed may need to be shaved for proper adhesion. While a person is monitored, he logs his daily activities in a journal so that the healthcare physician can better analyze the cause of irregular heart patterns and determine if the patterns are indicative of a more serious condition. Patients should avoid or limit exposure to magnets, metal detectors, electric blankets, and areas of high voltage during the test as electrical heart signals recorded by the ambulatory electrocardiography (EKG) monitor may be skewed. The length of monitoring time is commonly 24 hours or longer (Holter monitors are usually worn while sleeping).

Who Would Benefit from a Holter monitor?[]

Health care patients who have experienced heart problems in the past or those who are suspected of having a heart problem may benefit from the use of a Holter monitor. Common heart conditions include atrial fibrillation, mutifocal atrial tachycardia, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, palpitations, and various arrhythmia's.


Continuous recorders

The most common type is the continuous recorder (such as the Holter monitor). It provides a 24- to 72-hour record of the electrical signals from your heart. A standard EKG monitors only 40 to 50 heartbeats during the brief period you are attached to the machine. A continuous recorder monitors about 100,000 heartbeats in 24 hours and is likely to find any heart problems that happen with activity.

Another type of continuous recorder can be implanted under the skin of the chest. This recorder can be kept in your chest for more than a year to record the electrical signals from your heart.

Intermittent recorders

Another kind of ambulatory EKG monitoring is the intermittent recorder, which is used when symptoms of an abnormal heart rhythm do not occur very often. An intermittent recorder can be used for a longer time than a continuous recorder. The information collected by an intermittent recorder can often be sent over the phone to a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital.

Two types of intermittent recorders are available[]

  • Loop recorders. A loop recorder constantly records your heartbeats. When you have symptoms, you press a button on the monitor to record your heart rhythm. Loop recorders also save a small amount of information about how your heart was beating when you pressed the recording button (presymptom recording). This feature is especially useful for people who lose consciousness when their heart problems occur and can press the button only after they wake up.
  • Event monitor. This small device is used only when symptoms of the heart problem occur. You are not attached to the machine. One type is worn on the wrist like a watch. When symptoms occur, you press a button to start the EKG recording. The other type is a device that you carry where you can reach it easily, such as in your purse or pocket. When symptoms occur, you press the back of the device against your chest and then press a button to start the recording. The back of the device has small metal discs that work like electrodes. These handheld monitors can be very small (some are about the size and shape of a credit card).