Holter Monitoring

What is Holter monitoring?

Holter monitors are devices that record the heart’s electrical activity. They are used to help diagnose abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

How is a Holter monitoring performed?

  • ECG electrodes will be placed on your child's chest, and the ECG monitor will be attached to the electrodes with wires called leads.
  • The ECG monitor is small and portable. The monitor may have a shoulder strap so that the monitor box may be worn over the shoulder like a shoulder bag, or it may clip to a belt or pocket.
  • You will be given instructions regarding:
    • How to keep the electrodes attached to your child's skin.
    • How to check the monitor for problems.
    • When to call the doctor's office for help.
    • Keeping the electrodes and monitor dry by not allowing your child to take a shower or tub bath (a sponge bath is usually allowed) or go swimming.
    • Avoiding situations where your child may sweat excessively, causing the leads to detach.
    • How to keep a diary during the procedure, noting the date and time of day of any changes in activity and any symptoms your child experiences.
    • Avoiding using electrical appliances, such as electric razors, hair dryers or electric toothbrushes, near your child so that the ECG signal will not receive electrical interference on the recording tape. If these appliances must be used near your child, you should note it in the diary.
    • Avoiding magnets, metal detectors, areas with high-voltage electrical wires, and electric blankets during the procedure, since they can also create electrical interference on the recording tape.
  • Once your child has been hooked up to the monitor and you have been given instructions, your child will be allowed to return to his usual activities, such as playing and going to school, unless his doctor instructs you otherwise.
  • You will be given a telephone number to call if one or more of the electrodes comes off or if the monitor starts beeping.
  • Be sure to write down the date and time of any symptoms your child experiences in the diary, as well as what your child was doing at the time and any unusual circumstances that were also present.
  • At the end of the procedure, you and your child will return to the doctor's office to have the electrodes removed and the monitor disconnected. Or, you may be instructed to do this yourself at a certain time and date.

Depending on the results of the Holter monitor test, additional tests or procedures may be scheduled to gather additional diagnostic information.