What to Expect
What is it?
A Holter monitor is a portable electrocardiogram, or ECG, that your child wears continuously for 24 hours or longer.
It is about the size of a pack of cards and may come with a shoulder strap or belt clip so your child can carry it around as he goes through a normal day.
Why is it used?
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 he is having an arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm).
How does it 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 then recorded by the monitor.
When the recording is finished, you will need to return or mail the monitor and leads back to the cardiology office; a prepaid mailer will be supplied for you.
Your child's cardiologist then analyzes the readings of the monitor and looks for any periods of arrhythmia during the recording.
What happens during the test?
Your child will wear the monitor day and night for 24 hours or longer. Parents and patients are asked to keep a log book of the different activities during that day and when they take place.
This 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?
It often takes a week for a technician to fully scan all of the Holter monitor information into a computer before the cardiologist can read it.
Your child's cardiologist will notify you if there are any abnormalities on the recording that require further evaluation.