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What is a Holter monitor?

A Holter monitor is a painless test that records your heart’s electrical activity continuously for one to two days. A Holter monitor is a longer version of an EKG (electrocardiogram). It helps your doctor diagnose and monitor abnormal heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias) and decreased blood supply to the heart muscle (myocardial ischemia). 

A Holter monitor can detect abnormal heartbeats and other abnormal EKG changes that a standard EKG can miss. Standard EKGs only record the heart’s electrical activity for a short period of time. A continuous Holter monitor is more likely to detect abnormalities that occur periodically. 

A Holter monitor is only one method used to monitor and diagnose heart conditions. Discuss all of the options for evaluating heart health with your doctor to understand which options are right for you. 

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 12, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Ambulatory Electrocardiogram. American College of Cardiology. http://cardiosmart.org/HeartDisease/CTT.aspx?id=716.
  2. Electrocardiogram (ECG). Bupa. http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/e/electrocardiogram
  3. EKG or Electrocardiogram. HeartSite.com. http://www.heartsite.com/html/ekg.html.
  4. ECG library. ecglibrarycom. http://www.ecglibrary.com/ecghome.html.
  5. Holter Monitor. HeartSite.com. http://www.heartsite.com/html/holter.html.
  6. Holter Monitoring. Texas Heart Institute. http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics/Diag/diholt.cfm.
  7. What Is an Electrocardiogram? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ekg/.

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