A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and tape records your heart’s activity (ECG) continuously for 24 to 48 hours or longer depending on the monitor used. The device is the size of a small camera. It has wires with small electrodes that attach to your skin. The Holter monitor and other devices that record your ECG as you go about your daily activities are called ambulatory electrocardiograms.
A specially trained technician will attach the Holter monitor and instruct you how to record your symptoms while wearing it.
The technician first attaches the electrodes to your chest. If you have a hairy chest, he or she may shave some hair off to attach the electrodes firmly.
Once the electrodes are in place, the technician helps you put the Holter monitor on and explains how to take care of it.
You can carry the monitor in a pocket or pouch, slung across your shoulders and neck like a purse or camera, or attach it to your waist.
Do your usual activities while you wear the monitor with these exceptions:
The technician will show you how to keep a diary of your activities and symptoms during the test. It’s important to keep an accurate diary. If you feel symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats or dizziness, note in your diary the time of day they began and what you were doing. Your diary will be compared to the changes in your ECG recorded by the Holter monitor.