Ambulatory electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring (sometimes called Holter monitoring) is used to help doctors diagnose intermittent cardiac arrhythmias that occur only infrequently and unpredictably. Such arrhythmias often produce sudden symptoms, but typically are no longer present by the time a person gets to a doctor. For this reason, many symptom-producing cardiac arrhythmias are difficult or impossible to diagnose with a standard electrocardiogram.
Ambulatory ECG monitoring can be employed to record your heart rhythm for much longer periods of time—days, weeks, or even years—to greatly increase the odds of capturing and recording this kind of brief, intermittent, but potentially significant arrhythmia.
There are several types of ambulatory ECG monitoring systems available today to suit different clinical situations. Your doctor can work with you to determine whether ambulatory monitoring is a good idea for you, and if so, which type of monitoring is most likely to yield the quickest results.
Ambulatory ECG monitors usually lasts for 24 or 48 hours, at which point you return the machine to the clinic and the results are then analysed and prepared for your doctor.