What is a Holter Monitor?

Your doctor has ordered a Holter. You are probably curious to know exactly what a Holter is, what the recorder is for and what you are expected to do during the test.

A Holter is a relatively simple, and painless procedure. There is nothing to be afraid of or to worry about. Your doctor will arrange for a technician to connect you to a small lightweight portable recording unit that you will wear from 24 to 48 hours, depending on your doctor’s instructions. Monitoring electrodes will be put on your chest. These will pick up the signals from your heart and transfer them to the recorder, where a recording of the signals will be made. The recording will later be transformed into a report which your doctor will analyze.

The Holter is basically a continuous electrocardiogram taken while you are performing your normal daily activities. This differs from a normal ECG in that a normal ECG records only a very small portion of your heart’s activity, less than of 1% of your daily heart beats. The normal ECG is also taken while you are at rest and, therefore, does not show how your heart will react to the stressful situations of normal daily life.

The reason for the Holter is to provide your cardiologist with a record of how your heart reacted to each stressful or unusual situation during the day as well as at rest situations.

You will be provided a diary to record the events that occur throughout the day. This diary will provide your doctor with a means of correlating the recording results with the various events that occurred during the day. He will look at the activities and symptoms you list and will see how your heart reacted during each of these events. It is extremely important that you record your daily activities and symptoms accurately.


Charles A. Shoultz, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Charles A. Shoultz, III, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Rodney A. Brown, M.D., F.A.C.C.
William R. Pitts, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Donald S. (Buck) Cross, M.D., F.A.C.C. • Andrew K. Day, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Sherwin F. Attai, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Shawn J. Skeen, M.D. F.A.C.C.   •   Harvey R. Chen, M.D. F.A.C.C.
Adam M. Falcone, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Brian C. Barnett, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Diplomates, American Board of Internal Medicine,
Cardiovascular Disease, Interventional Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology