The Heart Institute of Venice offers a Holter Monitoring Clinic to help evaluate the type and amount of irregular heartbeats during regular activities, exercise and sleep.

A Holter monitor is a type of ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG). The recording device of a Holter monitor is worn on a strap at your waist or over your shoulder. The electrical signals of your heart are picked up by five small metal pads (electrodes) attached to your chest, and these are connected to the recorder by wires. Holter monitoring provides a continuous 24- to 72-hour record of the electrical signals from your heart.

While wearing the Holter monitor, you will also be asked to keep a diary of all your activities and symptoms. After the monitoring period, your health professional will compare the timing of your activities and symptoms with the recorded heart pattern.

Many people have irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) from time to time. The importance of irregular heartbeats depends on the type of pattern they produce, how often they occur, how long they last, and whether they occur at the same time you have symptoms.

Because arrhythmias can occur irregularly, it may be difficult to record an arrhythmia while you are in the doctor’s office. A standard ECG monitors only 40 to 50 heartbeats during the brief period you are attached to the machine. A Holter monitor records about 100,000 heartbeats in 24 hours and is much more likely to detect a problem.

Why It’s Done

Ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring is done to:

  • Detect arrhythmias that occur intermittently or during certain activities.
  • Evaluate symptoms (such as chest pain, dizziness, or fainting) of possible heart disease.
  • Detect poor blood flow to your heart muscle (ischemia), which may indicate coronary artery disease (CAD).
  • Monitor the effectiveness of treatment (such as medication or a pacemaker or automatic defibrillator) for irregular heart rhythms.