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How to use a Holter monitor and why

For continuous ECG heart monitoring outside the hospital or doctor’s office, a device called a Holter monitor might be used. Learn all about how and why Holter monitors are used here.

What can be diagnosed with a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is normally used to screen for potential heart problems. It is worn on one’s chest and continuously records ECG trace, which can reveal the presence of many heart arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias that could lead to complications as severe as stroke, cardiac arrest or heart failure.

How big is a Holter monitor? What is it like to wear a Holter monitor?
A Holter monitor is about the size of a small camera, or a large smartphone. In addition to the size of the actual monitor, which must be externally carried at all times during monitoring, the Holter monitor is connected with wires to patches attached to the skin. In order to attach the electrodes and capture the ECG signal around the heart, skin preparation is required such as abrasion (scraping) – an uncomfortable or even painful procedure which might make Holter monitoring an unpleasant experience for some. If the electrodes are attached for an extended period of time, they are also likely to cause skin irritation which is why a Holter monitor test is normally performed over a limited time period only, usually 2-7 days. QardioCore is the world’s only wearable continuous ECG monitor that doesn’t require wires and patches and doesn’t need any skin preparation.

Can you take a shower and continue your daily routine with a Holter monitor?
No, you can not shower or bathe for the entire time you’re wearing a Holter monitor – if the device gets at all wet, it will be damaged or stop working. The presence of wires, the recorder and the attached patches might also make it impossible to continue daily routine as those patches must stay properly attached to be able to record the ECG signal from your heart. Some activities such as exercising might tamper and detach the patches and you might have to start your test all over again. Qardio has designed the world’s first ECG/EKG monitor that is completely free from wires and patches, can be used at home and is gentle to your skin as it doesn’t stick to the body. It works with your iPhone or iPad and is worn comfortably under your clothes.

American Heart Association
John Hopkins Medicine

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