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Discharge Instructions: Holter Monitor

Your doctor has recommended that you wear a Holter monitor for a day or two. This device painlessly records your heartbeat while you are at home and away from the doctor’s office. The Holter monitor is a small, battery operated, portable electrocardiogram (ECG). Small, painless pads (electrodes) are put on your chest. These connect to a lightweight unit that attaches to a belt or shoulder strap. It records your heartbeat as you carry it with you. You will keep the device on for at least 24 hours and complete a diary during this time. Your doctor can then review this information at a later time.

Home care

These home care steps can help you manage your Holter monitor.

  • Try to sleep on your back.

  • Don’t take a shower. A sponge bath is OK. Do not get the equipment wet. Avoid swimming and other activities where it might get wet.

  • Follow your normal routine. This means, for example, don’t try to avoid stress, work, or exercise that occurs in your normal day.

  • While wearing the monitor, be sure to stay away from magnets, electric blankets, metal detectors, and high-voltage areas such as power lines. These are things that could affect the recording.

Keeping a record

Keep a diary of things you do during the day. This is important. It could help you match your symptoms to times when your heart is beating abnormally.

  • Write down when you take medications, drive to work, take a nap, or find yourself in stressful situations.

  • For each entry you make, record the time of day.

  • Note any changes in activity, including when you take medications.

  • Note any symptoms you feel.

  • Activate the monitor as instructed when you feel any unusual symptoms.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if the Holter monitor makes noise or electrodes come off.

Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 2/25/2014
© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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