A holter monitor is a small wearable ECG recording device, about the size of a mobile phone. It has electrodes that are attached to your chest. The device is usually worn by the patient for 24 but sometimes 48 hours, and it records all the heart beats over the recording period.
The test is usually performed to diagnose the cause of palpitations (which are an abnormal awareness of heart beating), or to determine whether an abnormal heart rhythm might be the cause of a patient experiencing dizziness or blackouts.
One of our nurses will apply the device for you and give you instructions about what to do. In brief you take the device home with you, and return it when advised. You should do all your normal daily activities, apart from showering or otherwise getting the device wet. You will be given a diary to record your activities and any symptoms you experience. The device has an event button you should press if you experience any symptoms, and this will allow us to correlate your symptoms with what (if anything) is happening to your heart beat at that time.
The test is painless, but males may require some chest hair to be shaved to ensure good electrode contact. It takes about 15 minutes to have the device applied and set up and about 5 minutes to remove it.