What is a Holter monitor?

A Holter monitor is a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) that your child wears for 24 hours (one full day and night).

It is about the size of a pack of cards. It comes with a shoulder strap or belt clip so your child can carry it around as they go through a normal day.

A Holter monitor is a noninvasive test.

Why is a Holter monitor used?

Holter monitor

Holter monitor

Holter monitors record how fast or slow the heart beats throughout the day while your child is playing, exercising and sleeping.

It helps to track symptoms such as dizziness, chest pain, fainting and palpitations (fast heart rhythms or skipping beats).

Your child’s doctor will order a Holter monitor to check your child’s heart rate or to see if they are having an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

How does a Holter monitor work?

A nurse or technician will attach the electrode wires of the Holter monitor to your child’s chest with stickers and place it in a comfortable position. The electrodes pick up tiny electrical signals from the heart that are recorded by the monitor.

When the recording is finished, you will need to return or mail the monitor and leads back to the Heart Center office. We will give you a prepaid mailer.

Your child’s heart doctor (cardiologist) will analyze the monitor’s readings and look for any times your child had an abnormal heart rhythm (periods of arrhythmia).

Read more about Holter monitors (PDF).

What happens during the test?

Your child will wear the monitor day and night for 24 hours. You will keep a log book of your child’s activities during the day and any symptoms.

Your child’s log book is compared with the Holter recording to see what kind of activity brought on any changes in heart rhythm.

How long does it take to get results of the test?

It takes about 2 weeks for a technician to scan all of the Holter monitor information into a computer and have the heart doctor (cardiologist) interpret the information.

You will be notified of the results, even if they are normal. If the recording shows abnormal heart rhythms, your child will need further evaluation by a cardiologist.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.