Holter monitor

A Holter monitor is a small device which records the electrical impulses generated

by your heart which cause it to beat.  The device records every heart beat over

approximately 24 hours or if required over a 7 day period.  It is used when patients

are suspected of having abnormal heart rhythms or missed beats


Why does my doctor want to have this test?

A Holter monitor may be done for the following reasons:

  • Investigation of palpitations

  • Investigation of dizziness and fainting

  • To monitor the function of your pacemaker or defibrillator

  • To assess how well medications are controlling your heart rhythm disorder

How do I prepare for the test?

The procedure will take approx 15-20 muinutes to fit.  Appointments will be conducted in the morning.  You will wear the device for 24 hours and then be required to return the following morning for a short visit to have the device removed.

  • Be mindful that you will be wearing the device for 24 hours and cannot shower during the test.  

  • Do not wear moisturisers on your chest

  • You will be asked to remove clothing above the waist, so wear items that are easy to remove

  • Please bring your medication list to the appointment


Is it dangerous?

The test is not invasive. There are no risks or dangers. Very rarely ECG electrodes may cause skin irritation.

How is the test done?

The device will be fitted by a technician. Electrodes will be stuck to your chest. Your skin will be given a mild scrub with paper and wiped with alcohol to facilitate sticking. You may need to have a small amount of chest hair shaved off. The skin on your chest may, on rare occasions, become irritated when the electrodes and tape are removed. The irritation is caused by the conductive gel on the electrodes
reacting with the skin.


What do I do during the test?

You should go about your activities in a normal manner. The technician will provide you with a diary to complete. You should make an entry every time your feel symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath or heart palpitations. You should record the time symptoms occurred, what symptoms occurred and what you were doing at the time.


Is there anything I shouldn’t do during the test?

  • During the 24 hours of the test you should not shower, bathe or swim or get the device wet

  • Do not use electric blankets

  • Do not use body powder or talcum

  • Do not remove the monitor

  • Do not shake the wires

  • If a lead wire comes unclipped from an electrode just snap it back on and record this in your diary

  • Do not drop the monitor

  • Do not open the monitor


When do I return to the centre for the device to be removed?

You will be advised on when you will need to return for the device to be removed. It is usually, but not always, the next day. Failure to return the device after a prolonged period may result in a late fee.