Holter 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.
Below are some of the common questions that our patients ask us and answers that may help you.
If you are experiencing issues while wearing your monitor, the below FAQs may be able to assist in providing an answer.
If not, please contact the collection centre where your monitor was fitted. The contact details can be found on the front of your Patient Diary provided when your monitor was fitted. Or, you can find their details by clicking here and searching for the collection centre.
Most of your normal activities can be maintained while you are wearing the monitor and this is recommended so that your doctor can see what happens to your heart's electrical activity on a typical day, and what may induce your symptoms. There are some restrictions though – you cannot shower, bathe or swim until the monitor is removed as it mustn’t get wet. It is also best to avoid contact sports as this can cause damage to the monitor.
Your Holter monitor must not get wet so you cannot shower, bathe or swim while you are wearing it. You will need to wait until you have your monitor removed at the collection centre before showering and resuming any water activities.
Yes, you can continue to use your C-PAP machine. Care should be taken to ensure the C-PAP cables do not become entangled with the Holter leads in any way.
The Holter Monitor you are wearing has two buttons on the right-hand side of the device.
The only time you should press a button is if you have an ‘event’ – i.e. you begin to feel unwell and/or experience symptoms. In this instance, press a button once. The current time will display on the screen briefly before reverting back to the intermittent smiley face.
Aside from recording an event, the buttons should not be pressed.
If the monitor pouch is secured around your neck, it is important you remove this when you are ready to go to sleep. Otherwise, if the monitor is secured to your pants/skirt, unclip this. Place the monitor next to you on the bed or on another nearby surface. Ensure there are no kinks or tangles in the wires where possible.
As a general rule, you can continue to play sport if this is a typical activity for you, except:
- All water-based activities need to be avoided as the monitor must not get wet.
- Contact sports should be avoided as this can damage the monitor.
If you do play sport or exercise while wearing the Holter monitor, make sure you record the details in your diary so the doctor knows what you were doing at the time. This will help explain the corresponding changes that will occur in your heart's activity.
Excessive sweating may reduce the adhesiveness of the electrodes and their ability to stick to your skin. If this occurs, the quality of the data we obtain might be reduced. If you are able, reattach the electrode/s based on the diagram below.
- Each circle represents where an electrode (sticky dot) is to be placed.
- The colours represent which electrode each lead should be connected to.
Record details about your activities, medication use (especially if for your heart), sleep times and any symptoms you experience while wearing the Holter monitor. This is valuable information for your doctor and may help them to identify triggers for your symptoms, make a diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment.
It is strongly recommended that you reschedule any X-ray, MRI and ultrasound appointments to when you are not wearing the Holter monitor. If the scan you require is urgent, please have it before booking in for your Holter monitoring.
- X-Rays and MRIs cannot occur whilst wearing a Holter Monitor. These tests will interfere with the recording and may cause damage to the monitor itself.
- Ultrasounds can occur if necessary however the placement of the ultrasound probe may interfere with the electrodes and the monitor wires which could result in a poor tracing on analysis. Wherever possible the ultrasound should be performed when the monitor is not attached.
If you become unwell during the monitoring period or have concerns regarding your health, please seek medical assistance from your doctor or hospital.
If you haven’t been wearing the monitor for very long and it is during business hours, phone the collection centre where you had the monitor fitted to arrange a time to go back in and have them take a look at the device. Or, call our Patient Services Support Centre on (07) 3377 8230 or 1300 020 349 (Monday–Friday: 6.30 am–5 pm, Saturday: 7 am–12 noon AEST).
If it is after hours and the collection centre and Cardiology Department are closed, gently detach the lead/wire from each electrode. Remove the electrodes from your skin. Keep the device somewhere safe and note the time you removed it in your Patient Diary. Attend your scheduled removal appointment and explain to the collector what occurred.
If you are unsure as to whether the monitor is working or not, it is best to leave it on so data can continue to be captured if it is still working.
DO NOT try and turn the monitor back on – any data will be lost and you will need to repeat the test.
Your data and the information on the monitor will be reviewed. If there is not enough information to make a diagnosis, your doctor may need you to repeat the test. If an additional test is required due to insufficient information initially, you will not be charged for the repeated test.
No, if there is a need for you to repeat the test you will not be charged a second time.
Yes, you can continue to use a computer whilst wearing your Holter Monitor.
Yes, however, limit exposure where possible as significant use may potentially interfere with the recording.
We recommend the monitor be removed by our collection staff who are specially trained in the fitting and removal of these devices. If something goes wrong, data can potentially be lost meaning you will need to repeat the test.
However, if you notice a reaction to the electrodes or become particularly unwell and need to seek medical treatment, the device can be removed early.
If you do need to remove the device for any reason:
- Gently detach the lead/wire from each electrode
- Remove each electrode from your skin.
- Keep the device somewhere safe and note the time and reason why you removed it in your Patient Diary if possible.
- Attend your scheduled removal appointment and explain to the collector what occurred.
Do not press any of the buttons on the device.
For a minor reaction, you can try some paw paw ointment or an over-the-counter steroidal cream. If you appear to have had a serious allergic reaction, the skin has broken, you are in any pain or have concerns, seek advice from your doctor or other health care professional.
If it is during business hours, contact the collection centre where you had the device fitted as soon as possible and let them know what has happened. If you’re able to return to the centre promptly, they will be able to start an additional recording for you so as much information as possible can be captured.
If the centre is closed or it is after hours, you can remove the device and electrodes. DO NOT press any buttons on the device as this can cause data to be lost and the test will need to be repeated.
Contact the collection centre when they reopen as you may be able to return the device early.
Your data and the information on the monitor will be reviewed and we will speak with your doctor who will decide whether the 24 hours of data is enough or if the test will need to be repeated. If a repeat test is required, you will not be charged for this.
You should continue to take your usual medications as prescribed whilst wearing the Holter Monitor unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
Ensure to add what medication and the time it was taken into your patient diary.