Implantable Holter monitor
What is an implantable Holter monitor?
In some patients with rhythm or conduction problems, the electrocardiogram (ECG) does not show a problem. In that case you can wear an implantable Holter monitor, which will record your heart rhythm for 24 hours. An implantable Holter monitor is a small device, no bigger than a paper clip. The monitor is used to record heart rhythm problems that only occur occasionally.
As with every surgical procedure, the risk of infection cannot be completely excluded. The Holter monitor is a ‘foreign body’ under your skin, which does entail a small risk that you will have a hypersensitivity reaction to the material. The device may also move and/or come out through the skin. The risk of serious complications is extremely small.
How is the implantable Holter monitor put in place?
There is no specific preparation for having an implantable Holter monitor put in place.
The device is placed in the chest, during a short (15 to 30 minutes), simple procedure. Under local anaesthesia, a small incision is made in the skin and the monitor is placed. You will remain awake and you can continue talking to the nurse and the doctor throughout.
You can leave the hospital immediately after it has been put in place, as long as you follow the instructions on:
- Caring for your wound,
- Avoiding certain activities (lifting, certain sports) during the first few days,
- Using your ‘personal remote control’.
Most patients can resume their normal activities with no problems afterwards. The place where it has been implanted may be rather sensitive at first. As soon as the wound is healed, you can swim, have a bath and play sports with no risk of damaging the device.
At home you will have a second, larger monitor beside your bed. This device automatically sends data from your Holter monitor to your doctor (home monitoring). If it becomes clear that intervention is needed, your doctor will contact you.
You will also need to come in for regular check-ups so that the data from your Holter monitor can be read out by your doctor or nurse. Reading the data is quick and painless and allows the doctor to see any links between your symptoms and periods when you have a heart rhythm problem.