A Holter monitor is a continuous, 24-hour tape recording of a patient’s EKG. This type of monitoring is much more likely to reveal an abnormal heart rhythm than the regular EKG, because the monitor can be worn during a full day of the patient’s regular daily activities. The Holter monitor helps the doctor correlate symptoms such as dizziness, fast/irregular heartbeat, or blackouts, and can also help the doctor evaluate the patient’s EKG during episodes of chest pain.
After the monitor’s electrodes are applied, the patient is sent on their way to do most of the things they would typically do in a 24-hour period. They are given a diary to record any activities (i.e. taking a walk, arguing with a child, etc.) or symptoms (i.e. chest discomfort, dizziness, etc.), along with the time these activities or symptoms occur. After 24 hours, the patient returns to the office, and the EKG strips are taken from the monitor. The doctor can then compare the EKG activity from the monitor with the patient’s activity/symptom diary.