If you have experienced symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, fainting, chest pain or shortness of breath and a routine resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) examination has not identified a problem, your doctor may ask you to complete an ECG Holter monitor test.
What is an ECG Holter monitor?
This test monitors your heart rhythm over 24, 48 or 72 hours, or five or seven days. The monitor is about the size of a mobile phone and you will need to wear it around your waist or carry it in your pocket. You do not need to stay in hospital and you can continue with your normal daily activities during the test.
When you return the monitor to the hospital, a cardiac physiologist will analyse the data and produce a report for your doctor.
The test will provide your doctor with much more information about your heart rhythm on which to base any medical decisions about your health.
How is the monitor fitted?
We attach three electrodes (small sticky patches connected to leads) to your chest. Small wires from the monitor are attached to these electrodes. You will wear the monitor around your waist clipped to a waistband or carry it in your pocket. It takes about 10 minutes to fit.
The test is completely painless and it is important that you wear the monitor throughout the day and night, and maintain your normal daily activities. It is also important that you do not get the monitor wet so please do not have a bath or shower while wearing it. We will give you extra electrodes if you have the monitor longer than 48 hours.
You will be asked to return the monitor to the non-invasive cardiology department. Ideally, the department would prefer for the monitor to be returned in person the day following the end of the recording phase or as soon as possible afterwards. We can give you a pre-paid first-class envelope to return the monitor so please ask at the fitting if this is what you would prefer.
Please make sure you follow the department’s instructions about returning your monitor as other patients may have their ECG Holter monitoring test cancelled if you do not return the monitor on time.
The non-invasive cardiology team aims to produce an ECG report within seven days of the monitor being returned. All results are uploaded to the electronic patient record system so that your doctor can look at the results immediately.
If you are booked to come in for an ECG test at Harefield Hospital and have any questions or would like further information please contact the cardiac physiologists directly on 01895 828 566.
If you have an appointment to have an ECG Holter monitor fitted at Royal Brompton Hospital and you have any questions or are unable to attend, please telephone the non-invasive cardiology department 020 7351 8641, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
You can read more information about these tests in the individual leaflets below.