Yakima Heart Center has been performing Heart Rhythm monitoring since it opened in 1975. The department is headed by Roger Vielbig, M.D., F.A.C.C., and Julie Vergara, M.A.
Heart rhythm monitoring is accomplished using either Holter or Event Monitors. These are medical devices that record the heart’s electrical activity. Doctors most often use these monitors to diagnose arrhythmias (problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat). Holter and Event monitors are small, portable devices you can wear while you do your normal daily activities.
A Holter monitor is a continuous recording of a patient’s ECG for 24 hours. It can help the physician correlate symptoms of dizziness, palpitations or black outs with periods of irregular heartbeat activity. It can also evaluate the patient’s ECG during episodes of chest pain, during which time there might be telltale changes that suggest reduced blood supply to the heart muscle.
An Event monitor is very similar to a Holter monitor. Like a Holter monitor it uses Electrodes that are attached to your chest and then are connected to the Event monitor. Unlike Holter monitors the Event monitor is worn for an extended period of time and only records your heart’s electrical activity at certain times while you are wearing it.
Your chest will be cleansed with an alcohol solution to ensure good attachment of the ECG electrodes. It may be necessary to shave small areas of chest hair on men. The ECG electrodes are attached to the chest and thin wires are used to connect them to a small recorder. The recorder is secured to the patient and can be worn during normal daily activities. To avoid getting the setup wet, the patient will not be able to shower for the duration of the test. A diary or log will be provided so that the patient can record activity and symptoms together with the time. It takes approximately 15 minutes to apply monitor and less than 5 minutes to remove it.
There is no preparation necessary. Loose-fitting clothing is suggested preferably with buttons down the front of a shirt or blouse. This makes it easier to apply the electrodes. It is advisable to bathe before the test and do not apply any lotions to the chest area.
After returning the monitor and diary to the clinic, the recorder will be scanned by the technician and the results interpreted by a trained cardiologist. The results will be sent to your referring physician within one week. Your doctor will then share the results with you.