When your family practice and internal medicine physicians at The Medical Group of South Florida in Jupiter, Florida, order a Holter monitor test for you, what does that entail?
If you have or are suspected of having a problem with your heart’s rhythm, first your doctor will order an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to check his suspicions. The problem with this test is that it can only check the heart’s activity during the actual duration of the EKG/ECG. If the results of this test aren’t definitive, or he suspects there might be an undetected problem, he will suggest you wear a Holter monitor, which is worn continuously for one or two days.
So what is this? Basically, it’s an ambulatory EKG machine that can monitor every beat of your heart over the course of the test. Often compared to a battery-operated tape recorder, it is worn either over the shoulder or strapped around the waist, with attached wires leading to electrodes that read your heartbeat taped to your chest.
Named for the physicist who invented it, the test is completely painless and nearly always conclusive. You can perform your usual activities while wearing it, except for showering, bathing, or swimming. You will also be told be to avoid high-voltage areas, metal detectors, or large or powerful magnets.
It is also important to keep a detailed diary of your daily activities while wearing the device, and especially to note the onset of any of the symptoms you have been experiencing over the testing period.
The symptoms for which a Holter monitor is employed include faintness or dizziness, or the feeling that your heart is either racing from time to time, or skipping beats. If you already have a pacemaker, your physician may want to test whether the device is working properly. A Holter monitor can also reveal whether your heart is receiving sufficient oxygen to perform its normal functions.
When you return the monitor, the highly trained diagnosticians in our new state-of-the-art, on-site diagnostic and laboratory facility will analyze the results, compare what the read-out shows against your diary, and report the findings to your physician.
From this, your doctor will be able to devise a treatment plan for you within minutes of receiving the results of your Holter test.