Key Points about the Holter Monitor

  • The portable heart rhythm monitoring system, or Holter monitor, is a portable, battery-powered device that measures heart activity to detect symptoms of arrhythmias and other cardiac problems.
  • Holter monitors are generally worn for between 24 and 48 hours.
  • The device is painless, external, and poses no risks.


A Holter monitor is a small, battery-powered device that measures and records heart activity. It is typically worn for between 24 to 48 hours, after which time your doctor will assess your results, and look for signs of conditions such as arrhythmia or tachycardia.

About the Holter monitor

A Holter monitor is a small, portable, battery-operated device that measures and monitors heart activity (EKG) for a continuous period of time--usually for 24 to 28 hours. The device can alert your doctor to any cardiac issues and can be particularly important for patients who have a history of abnormal cardiac symptoms.

Candidates for a Holter monitor

You may be a candidate for a Holter monitor if you have a history of an irregular heartbeat, or cardiac arrhythmias.

Expectactions for a Holter monitor

When using a Holter monitor, a technician will apply electrodes to your chest, attach the monitor, and teach you how to record symptoms and heart activity. While wearing the monitor, you will be advised to:

  • Avoid bathing, showering, swimming, X-rays, high-voltage areas, and metal detectors
  • Maintain a record of your monitor activity in a journal

Benefits of a Holter monitor

A Holter monitor can provide insight into your heart activity, that cannot be captured in just one office visit. Your doctor may use results from a Holter monitor to:

  • Determine whether your heart medications are effective
  • Assess how much oxygen your heart is receiving
  • Identify other abnormal heart activity

Risks of a Holter monitor

The Holter monitor is a non-invasive device that is not known to have any risks. Some people may experience skin irritation from the electrode adhesives.

Recovery from a Holter monitor

There is no recovery needed from wearing a Holter monitor.

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