KidsMD Health Topics

Holter and Event Monitors

  • Holter and event monitors are painless devices used to record your child’s ECG over the course of at least 24 hours. Both tests are typically performed at home.

    Boston Children’s Hospital performs more than 1,900 Holter and event monitor tests a year.

  • What is a Holter monitor?

    A Holter monitor is a device that performs a prolonged ECG testing. Over the course of at least 24 hours, your child’s heart rate is continuously monitored to capture any abnormalities or rhythms.

    ECG electrodes, which connect to a small and portable recording monitor, are placed on your child’s chest.

    What is an event monitor?

    An event monitor is similar to a holter monitor, and is used to test for symptoms that occur less frequently. There are two kinds:

    • Loop: An ECG patch connects your child’s chest to a recording device that triggers recording at the sign of symptoms.
    • Memo: A recording card is placed against your child’s skin at the sign of symptoms. It’s manually activated.

    What are holter and event monitors used for?

    They are used to help diagnose heart arrhythmias, which can cause dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, prolonged fatigue or heart palpations. Certain arrhythmias occur only sporadically. By monitoring your child’s heart for 24 hours or more, doctors can determine what may be causing your child’s symptoms. A standard or resting ECG, in comparison, only runs for a few minutes.

    What do I need to know about my child’s holter or event monitor testing?

    You’ll be given instructions regarding how to attach and operate the monitor. Here are some tips:           

    • Keep the monitor dry at all times (avoid tub baths or showers as well as excess sweating).Keep a diary, noting date and time of any changes in activity.
    • Avoid using electrical appliances, such as electric razors, hair dryers or electric toothbrushes near your child while he’s wearing the EKG. These devices can interfere with the recording.
    • Avoid magnets, metal detectors and electric blankets.
    • Usually, children don’t have restrictions on playing or going to school.

    How do I get results?

    At the end of the testing, you and your child will return to Boston Children’s to have the electrodes removed. Your doctor will typically have results one week after you return the monitor.

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