Holter Monitoring

Symptoms of palpitations and identification of abnormal heart rhythms commonly require clarification of the heart rhythm at the time of the symptoms.  Since most episodes occur at home when patients are not in hospitals, several types of monitors are available.  These monitors can be used to identify the heart rhythm at the time of symptoms and to identify asymptomatic irregular rhythms.  This can help identify patients at higher risk of symptomatic or dangerous heart rhythms in the future. 

Holter Monitors are monitors which record the heart rhythm for 24 hours; recording the ECG on a digital monitor which is then downloaded and examined by the physician.  Holter Monitors consist of small electrodes attached to the skin and connected to a wearable monitor.  It is similar to an ECG in the office but records an entire 24 hours.  They are commonly used to detect asymptomatic arrhythmias to identify those at high risk for which pacemakers, defibrillators, or medications are required.  Holters can also be used to detect episodes of ischemia suggesting coronary artery blockages.  They are commonly used after heart attacks as a method of identifying prognosis.

Loop Recorders are similar to Holter Monitors, but meant for prolonged monitoring lasting three weeks or more. They also monitor the rhythm continuously and may be able to transmit real time information to a monitoring center.  This allows for a longer period of monitoring as many patients do not have enough symptoms to catch on a 24 hour Holter.  It can identify brief symptoms as the device can be triggered to remember both symptomatic and asymptomatic heart rhythm abnormalities.  The device can be taken off and put back on by the individual at home.  Loop Recorders are commonly used to evaluate brief episodes of atrial fibrillation.

Event Recorders are monitors which are used to catch episodes of symptoms.  They are not attached to the patient, making them easy to use and convenient.  They need to be held to the chest wall during symptoms and then downloaded by phone to a service which then identifies the rhythm.  Event Recorders are convenient to use but the arrhythmia needs to be prolonged to allow the device to be placed on the chest.  They are useful to identify prolonged symptoms such as with SVT. 

To learn more about the services provided by Westchester Heart and Vascular please contact us at:

866-WMC-HEART (866.962.4327).