24-HOUR HOLTER MONITOR and EVENT MONITORS:
The Holter monitor is continuous EKG recorded on audiotape over 24 hrs. The patients are sent home with the attached monitor to record the heart rhythm for 24 hrs. The patient is encouraged to perform their usual daily activities while wearing the monitor. A “diary” is given to the patients to write down any symptoms experienced during that period. The cardiologist then will be able to match the symptoms with abnormal heart rhythms. This test is used to detect and document any cardiac arrhythmias or simply to determine the patients’ heart rate over a 24-hour period. If the heart rate becomes too slow, a permanent pacemaker may be indicated.
If the patient experiences cardiac arrhythmias only every 2 or 3 weeks, a 24 hr-Holter may not “catch” the problem. In those cases, different types of monitors are used (“event recorders” or “event monitors”) that will record and save the EKG strip only when patients press a button.