24/7 Heart Insights: How the Holter Monitor Test Works

Electrocardiograms (EKG) monitor your heart and provide vital information about how it functions. This painless, non-invasive test is usually performed in a short time at your doctor’s office. But what if your heart needs continual monitoring for 24 hours or longer? In this case, a Holter monitor test  is vital to help our internal medicine physicians in Cary provide an accurate and timely diagnosis to help you.

We’ll go over what the Holter monitor test is and how it works. In addition, we’ll review what the results tell us and how they help your Cary physicians tailor a plan just for you.

At Cary Medical Group, we’ve been serving the community for decades as the premier internal medicine practice, offering everything from acute care to regular wellness screenings. We invite you to see why so many have selected us as their medical home by scheduling an appointment. 

What Is a Holter Monitor Test and How Does It Work?

This small, battery-powered heart monitor is a silicone, water-resistant adhesive patch that is worn directly on your chest, right below your collarbone. It has built-in electrodes that convey information about the electrical activity of your heart directly to a tiny computer chip embedded in the monitor.

You will typically wear the monitor anywhere from 2 days, up to 2 weeks. This allows your provider to collect important information about your heart rhythm and the extended timeframe can catch irregular beats that do not occur all the time.

After the monitoring period, we will ask you to mail the monitor back to the monitoring company so that they can collect and organize all your data. Our internal medicine experts will evaluate the data and create a healthcare plan for you.

Depending upon your situation, we may ask you to document what you’re doing while wearing the Holter monitor. We do this to see how you feel when you’re doing different activities.

When Would You Need a Holter Monitor?

We may recommend a Holter monitor test for any of the following situations:

To help us evaluate symptoms like heart palpitations, dizziness, or fainting spells. These may be related to heart problems, and a Holter monitor will give us the information we need to make a timely and accurate diagnosis.
To monitor your heart function after a heart attack.
To monitor your heart after you’ve received a pacemaker
To gauge the effectiveness of medications
To check for irregular heartbeat (also called arrhythmias)

How Do You Sleep with a Holter Monitor?

Because the Holter monitor is small and compact, you can sleep as you normally would. It’s designed to be unobtrusive and comfortable to wear for an extended period.

Can a Holter Monitor Detect Anxiety?

Technically, no. The Holter monitor test detects heart rhythms. However, sometimes heart rate irregularities may occur when you’re having an anxiety or panic attack. If you are prone to these attacks, please talk to us.

If you have one when you’re wearing your Holter monitor, write down the time you experienced it in your journal.

What Diseases Can a Holter Monitor Detect?

This test gives us great insight into how your heart is working. It helps us detect conditions such as:

Atrial fibrillation
Irregular heartbeats
Heart palpitation
Signs of heart disease

One of the reasons that a Holter monitor is such a valuable tool, is that it can help us identify irregularities that may not be evident during the type of EKG that is done in our office. Sometimes, we need the added insight of heart data over a longer period.

Guard Your Heart Health Through the Leading Internists at Cary Medical Group

Understanding your heart’s health is crucial, and a Holter test gives us great insight into how your heart is functioning. It can also help us diagnose various cardiac conditions so we can create a healthcare plan to treat them.

With a team of dedicated, experienced physicians, Cary Medical Group has a longstanding tradition of offering the highest level of comprehensive care. Contact us today so we can help you live the healthiest life possible.