If you experience signs of a heart problem, including palpitations or unexplained fainting, your primary care physician will order several tests. In addition to an electrocardiogram, you may be asked to wear a heart monitor, also called a Holter monitor, that will calculate and record your heart’s activity over an extended period. Rest assured the monitor is painless and risk-free, as well as being a valuable diagnostic tool.
What Is a Holter Monitor & Why Do I Need One?
A Holter monitor is a portable, battery-operated apparatus that keeps track of your heart’s rhythm. Unlike a brief electrocardiogram that may not tell the whole story, a Holter monitor is worn for 24 to 48 hours while you go about your everyday life. Wearing a heart monitor may help your doctor figure out why you feel dizzy, or why you sense your heart racing or skipping beats. It will also indicate whether your heart is getting enough oxygen to function properly. The results will determine if you need further testing or procedures.
What Should I Expect With a Heart Monitor?
A technician will tape electrodes to multiple areas of your chest. When the electrodes are firmly in place, they will be connected by several wires to the Holter monitor. The device will be well hidden under clothes, and you can keep it in a pocket or pouch, whichever is most comfortable. Instructions for use are simple: keep the heart monitor dry, carry out your normal activities, and don’t take it off. You also may be asked to keep a diary and timeline of unusual symptoms, like pain, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath. Once the testing period is over, return the unit to your doctor’s office and wait until your follow-up appointment for results.
The heart monitor will reveal any problems with your heart’s electrical impulses. If there are concerns following this test, your doctor will outline a treatment plan and help you resolve it quickly.
Valley Medical Care in Juneau, Alaska, offers comprehensive diagnostic testing for heart health, including stress echocardiograms and Holter cardiac monitoring. As a family practice, they provide superior care for patients of all ages and conditions. Call (907) 586-2434 today to make an appointment, or visit the website to learn more about their practice.