24 Hour Holter ECG Monitoring

Why do I need 24 hour Holter ECG monitoring?

Sometimes you may experience palpitations (strong heart beats), dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms. Holter ECG monitoring can help with the diagnosis of many conditions affecting the heart and lungs. Some symptoms may not take place during a routine heart examination, so your doctor has asked for you to be monitored over a 24 hour period.

The Holter ECG monitor will record electrical signals from your heart over 24 hours. This test will monitor your heart rhythm during your everyday life to see how your heart responds to activity, rest and/or medication changes. You do not need to stay in hospital during Holter ECG monitoring.

What is a 24 hour Holter ECG monitor?

The Holter ECG monitor is a small and lightweight computerised device. It is used to continuously detect and record your heart rhythm over a 24 hour period. This involves placing several small and sticky electrode patches onto your chest. The patches are connected with a wire to a portable recording machine which will pick up and record electrical signals produced by every heartbeat. You will not feel anything and there will be no pain or discomfort during the Holter ECG monitoring.

Preparing for 24 hour Holter ECG monitoring

  • Please inform Express Diagnostics if you are allergic to Elastoplast.
  • We recommend that you wear a two-piece outfit with a loose top, as you will need to remove your top (women may keep their bra on). We also recommend not wearing tights because an electrode will be placed onto the ankles.
  • Please do not use cream or talcum powder on your chest area shortly before or during the Holter ECG monitoring – this may make it more difficult to stick the electrodes to your chest.

Setting up the 24 Hour Holter ECG test

  1. When you arrive to be fitted with the 24 hour Holter ECG monitor, you will be asked to strip to your waist (women may keep their bra on).
  2. A Health Care Assistant will put some small sticky patches called electrodes on to your chest to detect your heart’s electrical signals. Some men may need small areas of their chest shaved to help the electrodes stick properly.
  3. The electrodes will then be connected with wires to a small recording box (also called a ‘Holter monitor’).
  4. You will then be ready to wear the monitor, go home and carry on with your normal everyday activities.

Tips for successful Holter ECG monitoring

  • Throughout the test, you can store the Holter monitor in a pouch to wear around your neck or clipped to your belt.
  • Bear in mind that very strenuous activities may interfere with data recordings.
  • Be careful not to get the Holter monitor wet. You will not be able to shower whilst the monitor is attached to you.
  • Place the Holter monitor under your pillow at night.
  • Make sure the leads are still clipped to the electrodes on your chest. If a lead or electrode comes off accidentally, please reattach it to the area where it was originally. Use a new electrode if you need to.

Keeping a Holter monitor event diary

You will be given an event diary to help with the analysis and to make a more accurate evaluation of your 24 hour recording. Please record any symptoms you have during the test, along with their time, duration and circumstance.

Please keep your Holter monitor diary and a pen with you at all times.

Returning the Holter ECG monitor

Having worn the monitor for 24 hours, a follow up appointment will be made for you at Express Diagnostics for the monitor to be removed; please can you also bring your completed patient diary to this appointment.

Your 24 hour Holter ECG results

The results from your 24 hour Holter ECG test will be sent to your doctor who will call you in for a further appointment if necessary.