ECG monitoring by Holter

Holter monitoring involves the prolonged registration of the heart's electrical activity during which the patient carries out their normal activities.

The purpose of this type of investigation is to monitor heart rhythm for 24 hours in order to definitively identify heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) that are not detected by a standard ECG.

Indications

Typically, a doctor recommends this type of investigation if the patient experiences palpitations or if, based on other investigations, a disturbance in heart rhythm is suspected.

A standard ECG records the heart's electrical activity for a short period of time (less than 1 minute) and often does not detect temporary changes in heart rhythm. Therefore, if the doctor believes that the patient's symptoms or illness may be related to rhythm disturbances, Holter ECG monitoring provides the opportunity to record these changes.

If the patient's illness is frequently associated with rhythm disturbances (myocardial infarction, certain types of cardiomyopathies), the doctor may prescribe Holter ECG monitoring to diagnose these arrhythmias, even if the patient does not experience palpitations. Detecting these arrhythmias is useful for assessing long-term risk and the need for specific treatment of these arrhythmias.

Test Procedure

Holter ECG monitoring involves attaching a small device that records the heart's electrical activity through electrodes attached to the front of the chest simultaneously with recording a standard ECG.

It is important that symptoms occurring during physical activity are recorded during the monitoring period.

Risks

Apart from the discomfort caused by wearing a small device with electrodes attached to the chest, there are no risks associated with this procedure.

The electrodes are designed to collect information related to the heart's electrical activity, and there is no risk of electric shock that would be felt by the patient or disrupt the heart's function.

Preparation

This procedure does not require special preparation. For some men, attaching electrodes to the front surface of the chest may require removing chest hair. It should be noted that during Holter monitoring, the device should not be submerged in water, and therefore, the patient should refrain from bathing/showering.

Results

After the monitoring period ends (usually 24 hours, sometimes 48-72 hours depending on the physician's recommendations), you need to return to the office to remove the recording device for data interpretation.

The physician who prescribed the procedure will carefully analyze the occurrences during ECG monitoring and formulate a report, which typically includes data related to heart rate frequency and the presence of rhythm disturbances or conduction abnormalities during the analyzed 24 hours.

Based on this data, the physician will determine whether the patient's symptoms are related to the presence of changes in heart rhythm and whether the patient requires treatment adjustment.