Holter ECG monitoring is a noninvasive diagnostic procedure which is performed in ambulatory or hospital conditions. The patient place electrodes on the chest, which are associated with the device (sized of a mobile phone). The device, holter ECG is recording electrocardiograms of patient all the time. Holter is usually worn for 24 hours. During the wearing of this device patient cannot baths, move the cables and remove the electrodes. Patient while wearing a Holter, performs usual daily activities, which are recorded in the log.
When holter ECG monitoring system is used for monitoring of heart, then the electrodes are attached across the chest to receive the electrical signals of the heart and send signals to the portable device that records them. To avoid disturbance of muscle activity of the chest, that can lead to wrong image of Holter monitoring, electrodes are attached to the bony part of the chest. Each holter ECG monitoring system is consist of hardware that records electrical signals from the heart and software to analyzing these signals. Holter monitoring test is painless but can create discomfort during sleep and some patients have to to shave chest to attach the electrodes, it is also important that the patient is not allergic to the adhesives tape of electrodes, which eventually will fall off, but the patient is informed how to return them to the place.
After removing the Holter monitoring device from the patient, the cardiologist transferring data from the device to a computer and analyze ECG of patient. Cardiologists is depending on analysis of ECG, to determine whether there are disturbances in heart rhythm, cardiac impulse disturbances or ischemic episodes.
There are also wireless Holter monitoring devices, whic with help of the mobile phone are sending signals to your cardiologist, the drawback is that the batteries has to be recharged every 2 days.
Holter ECG monitoring is used primarily for:
- Detection and classification of cardiac arrhythmia in patients with heart disease or in patients with symptoms that could be caused by arrhythmia.
- Differential diagnosis (dizziness, short-term loss of consciousness).
- In patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial arrhythmias, transient occurring during the night.
- After a heart attack or heart muscle disease, there can be a number of heart rhythm disorders that may go undetected, and therefore their detection requires the use of holter monitoring.
- Selection of personnel for special duty (pilots, divers, skydivers, astronauts, etc.).
- Control of the pacemaker.
- Selection and the detection of obscure cardiac disorders in athletes.
Holter ECG devices may be used for diagnosis:
- Atrial fibrillation of the heart.
- Multifocal atrial tachycardia (rapid heartbeat formed from a large number of locations in the heart).
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.
- Determining the cause of rapid fatigue.
- Slow heart beat (bradycardia).
- Ventricular tachycardia.
- Sudden death in the family.
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