What is Holter monitoring?

Holter monitoring is usually used to diagnose heart rhythm disturbances, specifically to find the cause of palpitations or dizziness.

You wear a small recording device, called a Holter monitor, which is connected to small metal disks (called electrodes) that are placed on your chest to get a reading of your heart rate and rhythm over a 24-hour period or longer. Your heart's rhythm is transmitted and recorded on a tape, then played back into a computer so it can be analyzed to find out what is causing your arrhythmia. Some monitors let you push a record button to capture a rhythm as soon as you feel any symptoms.

What is event monitoring?

Like a Holter monitor, an event recorder also uses a recording device to monitor your heart, although it uses a smaller monitoring device. Unlike the Holter, it does not continuously monitor your heart over a 24-hour period. It doesn't record until you feel symptoms and trigger the monitor.

When you feel the symptoms of an arrhythmia, you can telephone a monitoring station, where a record can be made. Or, if you cannot get to a phone, you can save the information in the event monitor, which can later be sent to a monitoring station.

A cardiac event recorder is also called a loop monitor or a patient-activated ECG.  

What to expect

Setting up the monitor only involves a few minutes and then you can go about your regular daily activities.

You may be asked to write down any symptoms you have while wearing the monitor so your heartbeat at that particular time can later be analyzed.

How to prepare

It is best to check with the centre where you are having your test for specific information about how to prepare.