Holter and Telemetry Monitoring
About the Tests and How They are Performed
Ambulatory EKG monitoring allows your healthcare providers to monitor your EKG over a period of time, while you’re going about regular activities. There are two common types of ambulatory monitors — Holter monitors and Ambulatory Telemetry Monitors (ATMs).
Holter monitor: A 24 to 48-hour Holter monitor is a device which records your heart’s activity over this period of time as you go about your daily activities. Like an EKG, it is safe and painless.
A Holter monitor is a small box about the size of a pager. It has cables that are attached to electrodes on your chest. The monitor records the activity of your heart digitally. The information is downloaded to a computer and reviewed by expertly trained technicians. The results are given to a physician to interpret for a diagnosis.
Ambulatory telemetry: Ambulatory Telemetry Monitors (ATMs) are similar to a Holter monitor, but are prescribed for patients when symptoms are infrequent or not predictable (may not occur during a given 24 to 48-hour period of time).
Patients wear ambulatory telemetry for up to 30 days. Patients are taught to remove the monitor daily before showering and then re-attach the monitor after showering. When symptoms occur, patients can push a button to mark their symptoms. All heart beats are stored and analyzed, even if the patient is not having symptoms. The information is continuously downloaded to a receiving center 24 hours a day while the monitor is attached to the patient. Physicians are notified of any critical findings during the study.
High Plains Heart and Vascular Center staff places these devices and patients will provide consent and receive instructions before leaving the office.
How to Prepare
• Avoid oily or greasy skin creams and lotions where the monitor is applied. They interfere with the electrode-skin contact.
• Wear a shirt that can be easily removed to place the electrodes on the chest.
Why the Holter or Telemetry is Performed
These ambulatory tests can be performed for multiple reasons that will be explained by your provider at your evaluation; however, they’re commonly placed to detect suspected electrical abnormalities with patients who may have correlating symptoms such as:
• Racing heart beats
• Pre syncope or dizziness
These tests are designed to:
• Assess your heart rhythm over time
• Correlate your symptoms with your heart rhythm
• Diagnose abnormal heart rhythms: what kind they are, how long they last, and what may cause them
• Guide treatment for abnormal heart rhythms