Discharge Instructions: Holter Monitor

March 21, 2017

Discharge Instructions: Holter Monitor

Your doctor has recommended that you wear a Holter monitor for a day or two. This device painlessly records your heartbeat while you are at home and away from the doctor’s office. The Holter monitor is a small, battery operated, portable electrocardiogram (ECG). Small, painless pads (electrodes) are put on your chest. These connect to a lightweight unit that attaches to a belt or shoulder strap. It records your heartbeat as you carry it with you. You will keep the device on for at least 24 hours and complete a diary during this time. Your doctor can then review this information at a later time.

Home care

These home care steps can help you manage your Holter monitor.

  • Try to sleep on your back.

  • Don’t take a shower. A sponge bath is OK. Do not get the equipment wet. Avoid swimming and other activities where it might get wet.

  • Follow your normal routine. This means, for example, don’t try to avoid stress, work, or exercise that occurs in your normal day.

  • While wearing the monitor, be sure to stay away from magnets, electric blankets, metal detectors, and high-voltage areas such as power lines. These are things that could affect the recording.

Keeping a record

Keep a diary of things you do during the day. This is important. It could help you match your symptoms to times when your heart is beating abnormally.

  • Write down when you take medications, drive to work, take a nap, or find yourself in stressful situations.

  • For each entry you make, record the time of day.

  • Note any changes in activity, including when you take medications.

  • Note any symptoms you feel.

  • Activate the monitor as instructed when you feel any unusual symptoms.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if the Holter monitor makes noise or electrodes come off.


March 21, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S,MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician