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What is a Holter Examination?

A Holter monitor is a continuous recording of your electrocardiogram (ECG) for 24 hours. It provides valuable information about the function of your heart. The monitor is a small machine which records the electrical impulses that cause the heart to beat.

This recording enables the physician to see what your heart does during normal daily activity. It also helps the physician to know how your heart responds to your medication.

How is the test performed?

When you arrive at our Diagnostic Department, a brief history of your condition will be taken. Your chest will then be cleansed with an alcohol solution to ensure good attachment of the sticky ECG electrodes. Any excessive hair will be shaved. This is to ensure a good application of the small electrode pads to your chest.

Thin wires are then used to connect the electrodes to a small tape recorder. Once the electrodes and wires are in place, the technician will run test strips. The recorder is secured to your belt or it can be slung over the shoulder and neck with the use of a disposable pouch.

The recorder is worn for 24 hours and you are encouraged to continue with your daily activities. To avoid getting the setup wet and damaging the recorder, you will not be able to shower for the duration of the test. Also be sure that all pads and wires stay attached. Be careful not to crush the cables and instrument while in use.

Press the event button at any time during the recording to register an event (what you do or feel at that time). Event acknowledgement is given by led flickering continuously for approximately 7.5 seconds.

A diary or log is provided so that you can record the event (for example: walking the dog, upset at neighbor) and symptoms (for example: skipped heartbeats, chest discomfort, dizziness) together with the time.

When writing in your dairy, use only the clock on the recorder for timing your entries. The Holter monitor has an internal clock which stamp the time on the ECG strips. These can be used to correlate the heart rhythm with symptoms or complaints. After 24 hours, the Holter monitor needs to be returned to the laboratory. This can be removed by the staff.

Multiple ECG strips are recorded on paper with a computer-generated summary that provides details about your heart rate and rhythm during the recording. This information is then provided to your doctor.

How do I prepare for the test?

Meals and medication may be taken as usual before the examination. Please bring with you a list of the medications you are taking. The only requirement is that you do not use talcum powder or lotion on your chest and wear loose-fitting clothes. Buttons down the front of a shirt or blouse is preferable. This makes it convenient to apply the ECG electrodes, and also comfortably carry the monitor in a relatively discreet manner.

How long does it take?

It takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to apply the monitor and less than 5 minutes to remove it. You will also receive directions. Allow 30 minutes before your appointment to register at the Outpatient Admitting Department. You will be directed to the Diagnostics Department.

How safe is the test?

Holter monitoring is extremely safe and no different than carrying around a tape recorder for 24 hours. Some patient's are sensitive to the electrode adhesive, but no serious allergic reactions are known.

When will I get the results?

The report is provided to your physician, together with multiple ECG strips after the recording has been scanned by the technician.

If the technician sees a rhythm that is lifethreatening or potentially dangerous your physician is informed immediately.

Otherwise, it may take a few days before you get the official results from your physician's office. At that time, you may also receive additional recommendations based upon the results of the test. For example, a pacemaker may be recommended if you have blackouts and the Holter monitor shows a seriously slow heart beat during the test.

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  •  Address : Cay Hill, St Maarten

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