Locations across Queensland within Queensland Cardiovascular Group

Phone (07) 3016 1111

Diagnostic Tests:
Holter Monitor

a clock and a drawing of a human body.

What is a Holter Monitor?

A Holter Monitor is a small portable battery-operated device used to record the heart’s electrical activity as an electrocardiogram (ECG) over at least a 24-hour period.

Click here to learn about our other cardiac diagnostic tests

When is a Holter Monitor Required?

Some heart rhythm irregularities (palpitations) occur intermittently or when doing certain activities.

A continuous 24-hour recording with a Holter monitor is more likely to detect these abnormalities than an ECG taken while you are in the clinic.

Symptoms such as palpitations (fast and slow heartbeats, skips and thumps), dizziness (pre-syncope), fainting (syncope) and chest pain may be associated with electrical abnormalities.

The Holter monitor tracks and records the frequency and duration of irregular heartbeats and abnormal heart rhythms. It also records the fastest heart rate, the slowest heart rate and the average heart rate over 24 hours. 

You will record your symptoms by keeping a diary . The reporting technician will be able to match your symptoms with your heart rhythm at the time of the symptoms to see if there is a correlation. This data then helps your specialist diagnose your symptoms.

The monitor can also help assess how well your current medical therapy is addressing your heart rhythm or rate issue. The Holter study can also be used to assess the success of an ablation procedure.

a woman's stomach with three diagnostic gadgets attached to it.

How do I Prepare?

Continue to follow your usual medication schedule unless you are directed otherwise by your Doctor. Make sure you bring along a list of all your current medications. A loose shirt will allow the Holter to be worn more comfortably; ideally a front buttoning shirt. You will not be able to shower while the Holter monitor is attached, so bathe before your appointment.

How is a Monitor Attached?

A Cardiac Scientist will set up your Holter monitor. A resting 12-Lead ECG will be performed initially to determine your baseline heart rate and rhythm. Several areas on your chest may be shaved and/or cleaned to ensure good contact with the electrode skin stickers. The Holter monitor will then be connected to the electrodes via monitoring leads. The monitor can be clipped to your pants / skirt or can often be placed in your pocket. It is lightweight and easy to carry with you.

The Holter monitor will need to be returned the following day at a prearranged time.

What Should I Expect?

  • Follow your Routine
    You should continue with your normal daily routine while wearing the Holter monitor.
  • Take Notes
    You will be asked to keep a diary of any symptoms, including making note of the time, the symptom you experienced, and what activity you were doing at the time.
  • Gentle Exercise Only
    Mild to moderate exercise is encouraged, however heavy perspiration may cause the electrodes to fall off.
  • Adjust Sleep Position
    While sleeping, it is advised to find a position where there is no pressure on the chest electrodes or the wires.
  • Adjust Monitor if Needed
    If any come loose or detach, you can reattach the wire and/or press the electrode firmly back on the skin. Medical tape or a Band-Aid can also help to reattach a loose electrode.

Holter Monitor Results

After the Holter monitor and your symptom notes are returned at the arranged time and location the following day, it will be analysed and a full report will then be sent to your doctor within 24 hours.

Risks

There are no risks from Holter monitoring. Mild skin irritation may occur where the electrodes have been.

Learn about our Other Cardiac Diagnostic Tests

electrocardiogram (ecg) icon
ECG
transthoracic echocardiogram
Echocardiogram
a clock and a drawing of a human body.
Holter Monitor
cardiac event monitor
Event Monitor
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Implanted Cardiac Monitor
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Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)
exercise stress test
Exercise Stress Test
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CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA)
calcium score test
CTCA Calcium Score
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Dobutamine Stress Echo
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Exercise Stress Echocardiography
24 hour blood pressure monitor
24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitor