A Holter monitor is a battery-powered device that is worn necklace-style for a short time to track and record your heart’s rhythm while you work, sleep, and carry out everyday activities. The simple device can detect any irregularities that could potentially lead to a serious medical complication, such as a heart attack.
A Holter monitor, also referred to as an ambulatory electrocardiogram (EKG), is a painless device that is around the size of a cellphone. It is worn continuously for one or two days to record your heart’s electrical activity. It can be worn over your shoulder, around your neck, in a pocket, or attached to a belt, and it remains on you for the duration of the test apart from when bathing, showering, or swimming.
The device connects to electrodes which are attached to your chest, measuring the movement of electrical waves through your heart that cause the heart to naturally contract and pump blood. If this process isn’t functioning correctly, it can cause an irregular heart rhythm.
What Does a Holter Monitor Do?
An irregular heartbeat can indicate a serious health condition which can lead to complications such as a heart attack or stroke. There are a number of reasons why a doctor may recommend using a Holter monitor, which can include:
- Regular palpitations or a pounding sensation in the chest
- The heartbeat appears too slow, too fast, or irregular
- Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting
- Chest pains or tightness in the chest
- Regular fatigue, tiredness, or shortness of breath
- To monitor how well a pacemaker or heart medication is working
- To assess the risk of future heart problems as a result of a pre-existing or genetic condition, or following a heart attack
- To evaluate a patient with a pacemaker who is suffering from dizziness or other symptoms
Types of Arrhythmia
An arrhythmia is an uneven heartbeat, meaning there is a problem with the rate of your heartbeat. It may appear as a too-fast or too-slow heartbeat, a fluttering sensation, or skipped beats.
An arrhythmia isn’t always serious, and not everyone feels symptoms. However, if it is highly irregular or indicates a damaged or weak heart, it can be life-threatening – so further investigation is necessary by a doctor to determine the cause and administer treatment.
A Holter monitor can be an effective way to diagnose many different heart arrhythmias, such as:
- Atrial fibrillation – An irregular beating of the atrial chambers. The chamber tends to produce an abnormally fast heartbeat rather than a single, strong contraction.
- Atrial flutter – A fast heart rhythm. This is usually caused when one area in the atrium is not conducting properly, which causes the atria and the ventricles of the heart to beat at different speeds.
- Tachycardia – Abnormal electrical impulses that begin in the ventricles and cause an abnormally fast heartbeat.
- Bradycardia – A slower-than-normal heartbeat.
- Heart block – A slow heartbeat caused by a delay in the conduction system between the top and bottom heart chambers.
Comprehensive Family Medicine in Dearborn, MI
If you have a health concern or are exhibiting unusual symptoms, come and speak to family medicine specialist Dr. Sham Maghout-Juratli. Dr Sham will perform a physical evaluation and ask about your own health history and your family’s health history, and she may conduct further analysis if necessary. Our medical team provides healthcare for you and your whole family.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (313) 451-8253 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to serving you!