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Ambulatory Cardiac Monitoring
(Holter Monitoring; Ambulatory Electrocardiography [EKG])
|Heartbeat on EKG Monitor|
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Reasons for Test
- Fainting spells thought to be caused by the heart
- Occasional feeling that the heart is racing
- Treatment effectiveness for dangerous rhythm disturbances
What to Expect
Prior to Test
Description of Test
- Holter monitoring —A small device will be strapped to you. Wires from the device will be attached to electrodes on your chest. Electrodes are small adhesive pads. You may be taught to replace them or asked not to remove them during the monitoring period. You will be instructed to keep a diary of your activities for the next 24-48 hours. You will then return the device and your diary for analysis. Some devices have an event button. You will push the button each time you have concerning symptoms.
- Looping monitor —The electrode may be a wrist band, finger attachment, or chest plate. This device records several minutes at a time, then starts over. You will push a button during or after an event to save the recording. For longer periods of monitoring, there is an implantable version. This electrode is surgically placed under your skin.
- Event recorder —This device is only used when you have symptoms. The device can be a wrist band with an activation button or a pager-sized device that you press onto your chest. Some of these are connected to a 24-hour-a-day central base that can immediately detect and respond to the event when you activate the signal.
- CardioNet (mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry) —A special service monitors your heartbeat continuously. It will respond immediately if it detects a serious event.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
Heart Rhythm Society http://www.hrsonline.org
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.ca
Abbott AV. Diagnostic Approach to Palpitations. Am Fam Physician. 2005;71(4):743-750.
Ambulatory monitors. Cleveland Clinic Heart Center website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/services/tests/electrocard/ambmonitor.aspx. Updated September 2013. Accessed August 19, 2014.
Kadish A, Buxton A, Kennedy H, et al. ACC/AHA clinical competence statement on electrocardiography and ambulatory electrocardiography. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001;38(7):2091-2100.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 08/19/2014