Holter monitoring


A Holter monitor is a small wearable device that tracks and records the electrical rhythms of your heart as you move around doing the normal things you do in daily life, usually over 24 or 48 hours.


It provides information about how the changes in your heart rhythm correspond with your daily activities and sleep patterns and it is used to investigate a range of symptoms such as dizziness or palpitations.

Having a monitor fitted is straightforward. Follow our step-by-step guide below to know what to expect. Alternatively, you can download our Holter monitor patient brochure here.

Please note: if you experience any of the following symptoms whilst the monitor is being worn, please contact your GP or relevant health care professional:

  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Extra beats
  • Shortness of breath
  • If you faint
  • Develop a rash or redness on skin

Do not wait until your removal appointment if you experience pain, discomfort or have any concerns regarding your health.

Holter FAQs, help and troubleshooting

A guide to your holter monitor

Step 1: When to see your doctor

If your doctor thinks it would be helpful for you to have your heart rhythm monitored over an extended period, they will give you a request form to bring to us. This is a good time to tell the doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing and ask any questions you may have.

Step 2: Booking your appointment

Next, you’ll need to book an appointment at one of our collection centres to have a monitor fitted. Holter monitoring is offered at more than 100 collection centres across Queensland, northern NSW and the Northern Territory. 

Appointments can be booked directly with each centre. Find the closest collection centre that performs Holter monitoring.

Appointments for Holter monitor fittings are essential as the collector who fits your monitor has received specialised training and booking in advance ensures that a trained person will be available.

Bookings are made directly with our Holter monitoring collection centres. By clicking the button at the bottom of this page, you will be able to locate your closest collection centre and their contact details.

Appointments are usually scheduled between Monday and Thursday with removal taking place the following day.

A few of our centres have the capacity to fit a Holter monitor on Friday and remove it on Saturday morning, however this service is limited.

We understand that life is busy and you have many commitments and we will do our best to accommodate your needs as much as possible.

When you phone to make a booking please discuss your specific requirements. This is the perfect time to discuss payment.

There is an out-of-pocket expense for this test. All patients (excluding Veteran Affairs Gold Card holders) will be required to pay the fee at the time of the device being fitted.

A concession rate is available for Veteran Affairs White Card holders and patients with a current Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card, as well as patients who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

Step 3: Preparing

There are a few important steps you must take before coming to your appointment.

Your Holter monitor must not get wet, which means you won’t be able to have a shower, bathe or go swimming until it is removed after the 24 or 48-hour monitoring period.

To best prepare for your test, please:

  • Shower before coming to your appointment to have the monitor fitted.
  • Avoid using any moisturising lotions, powders, spray deodorants, and perfumes after your shower (this can reduce the quality of the Holter tracing).
  • Wear loose, two-piece clothing to make it easier for the monitor to be fitted and removed.
  • Bring a list of any medications you are taking.

Underwire bras can be worn, however many people find they are more comfortable wearing a wire-free bra/sports bra during the device fitting.

The chest area needs to be free of hair to ensure a good quality tracing. Your collector will shave your chest if this is required before fitting the Holter monitor, or you can do this yourself prior to your appointment.

Step 4: Having your monitor fitted

You will be fitted with a small, lightweight, portable monitor by one of our trained pathology collectors.

The person fitting your monitor will start by taking your height and weight.

Next, they will prepare your skin so that the electrodes, which are five sticky dots, can be placed. Good adherence depends on thorough skin preparation and this is essential for achieving a good quality tracing.

The electrodes will then be applied to your chest area and the monitor linked to the electrodes via five leads.

Once the monitor begins recording, your collector will explain what to expect and what you need to do. If there’s anything you are unsure about or do not understand, be sure to ask.   

Before leaving the centre the collector will let you know when you need to return to have the monitor removed.

Step 5: Wearing the monitor

While you wear a Holter monitor, you can carry out your usual daily activities as long as your monitor will not get wet.

Your monitor will continuously record the electrical activity of your heart for 24 to 48 hours as requested by your doctor.

Please note: if you experience any of the following symptoms whilst the monitor is being worn, please contact your GP or relevant health care professional:

  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Extra beats
  • Shortness of breath
  • If you faint
  • Develop a rash or redness on skin

Do not wait until your removal appointment if you experience pain, discomfort or have any concerns regarding your health.

Your monitor will continuously record the electrical activity of your heart for 24 or 48 hours, depending on what your doctor has requested and the length of time the monitor has been programmed to record.

The monitor will not make any noise, nor will you feel anything. A small blue smiley face will intermittently appear on the display of the Holter monitor every 5–10 seconds. This indicates the device is recording correctly.

You will be asked to keep a patient diary and record details about your day, such as physical/strenuous activities, medication use (especially related to your heart), sleep times, and any symptoms you may experience.

If you begin to feel unwell or experience any symptoms, press any one of the buttons once. This will record the time of the event so the reporting specialist can have a closer look at what your heart rhythm was doing at that time and associate it with any symptoms you experienced.

While you are wearing the Holter monitor you will not be able to:

  • Shower, bathe or swim. The monitor must not get wet.
  • Have X-rays, MRIs, or other scans. Any non-urgent scans will need to be rescheduled for after the monitor is removed.
  • Use magnetic underlay, waterbed heater, or electric blanket as these may interfere with the device.
  • Use circulation boosters and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices.

You can: 

  • Continue to use your mobile phone but it is recommended you limit the use wherever possible.
  • Use a microwave, however stand to the side where possible, not directly in front.

If you have any questions or concerns during the monitoring period, it is important you contact us as soon as possible so we can support you to the best of our ability.

You can:

If you become unwell during the monitoring period or have concerns regarding your health, please seek medical assistance from your doctor or hospital.

Step 6: Having the monitor removed

When you return after 24 or 48 hours, we will remove your monitor.

Allow 10-15 minutes for the removal of your monitor and electrodes.

Be sure to return to the same centre where you had the monitor fitted at the time the collector advises. It is important you return the monitor on time so appointments for other patients can continue as scheduled.

Be sure to bring your Patient Diary. This is very important in providing all the information needed for your diagnosis.

If you are running late or are unable to return your Holter monitor to the collection centre as planned, please contact the collection centre or our Cardiology Department on (07) 3377 8753 (Mon – Fri, 7:30am – 4:30pm) as soon as possible.

Your skin may be a little red and/or itchy from the electrodes. For minor irritation, you can apply some paw paw ointment or speak to a pharmacist about an over-the-counter steroidal cream. If you find the areas painful, the skin has broken or you have any concerns please seek medical advice from your doctor or other health care professional.

Please let your collector know of any concerns so they can provide you with the appropriate care and advice.

Step 7: Reporting

Your monitor will gather a wealth of data about the electrical activity of your heart.

The data on your Holter monitor is uploaded and analysed by an experienced team of Cardiac Scientists before being reviewed by a specialist doctor, a Cardiologist.

A detailed report is generated and sent to your doctor by secure electronic transmission within several working days of the monitor being removed. Paper copies are issued on request.

The report that is sent to your doctor contains a summary of your heart's electrical activity along with graphs and tracings. Your doctor also receives a copy of your Patient Diary. Together, they show the rhythm of your heart at different times of the day and night, and the influences of various activities.

Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you have about your Holter report. You play an important role in making sure your diagnosis is correct. Make sure you tell them everything you think might help and do everything you can to ensure the information you provide is accurate.

Example holter monitor report

Holter Report PictureFor an example of a Holter monitor report similar to what will be sent to your referring doctor, click on the example report.

Download an example report  

Step 8: Seeing your doctor about your results

You need to make a follow-up appointment with your doctor to go through your results.

Allow around 4-5 working days after having your monitor removed before seeing your doctor to ensure they have received your results.

Your doctor will contact you if any urgent follow up is required.

FAQs, help and troubleshooting

The monitor you wear is checked and serviced regularly and the collector who fits it will make sure it is working correctly before you leave the centre. Occasionally, problems may still occur.


Click here for FAQs, help and troubleshooting