Ambulatory Holter Monitoring

What is Ambulatory Holter monitoring?

This is a continuous recording of the ECG for 24-72 hours, while patient goes about the usual daily activities. It is helpful in diagnosing abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias. It is especially useful in correlating intermittent complaints that disappear by the time patient reaches the doctor. If any abnormal beats or heart arrhythmias occur during that time, they will be identified. In addition for patients with irregular rhythms, especially “skipped beats”, Holter monitoring helps quantify the total number of abnormal beats in a day, which has prognostic implications. Holter monitor can also give information about changes in the ST segment of the ECG during the monitoring period. Some patients who have cardiac ischemia (compromise in blood supply to the heart muscle) will not actually experience symptoms during their ischemic episodes. This condition is called "silent ischemia." By analyzing changes in the ST segment, silent ischemia can often be diagnosed by Holter monitoring

This test may be advised if one experiences symptoms like fainting, palpitations or rapid heart beats.

How is it performed?

The electrode leads are applied to the skin (similar to the leads used in recording a standard ECG) after thoroughly cleaning the skin, and attached to a small recorder which records the entire ECG of the patient over the 24 -72 hours and stores it in a flashcard (computer chip). The patient is encouraged to perform his usual daily activities during the test. This is subsequently downloaded onto a computer and analysed by the doctor.

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