FSM Media

by Dianna Ranere

My Experience Wearing a Holter Monitor

My Experience Wearing a Holter Monitor

Last week I went to the Doctor after experiencing some really unsettling symptoms, heart palpitations being one of them. To be clear, they were more like flutters. I am also very tired, get cold easily (like wearing a sweater when it’s 85 degrees cold), and just feel generally bad most of the time.

Of course I Googled my symptoms like we all tend to do, and may I suggest that you NEVER do that. My symptoms led me to some scary diseases  that only stressed me out more, not good for someone with heart flutters.

Long story short, I went to the Doctor and they ordered various blood tests, some testing for autoimmune diseases since they know of my gluten issue, glucose tests, and a ton of others. They also did an EKG (An electrocardiogram is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart), then ordered me to wear a Holter Monitor (a portable device for continuously monitoring various electrical activity of the cardiovascular system).

I thought I would write about my experience because perhaps it could help someone going through the same thing. 

I was super nervous to get the Holter, mainly because of the unknown. I couldn’t find anything online from a personal perspective about wearing the monitor. I was also stressed because both of my parents died (young) of heart disease. So you can imagine how I was feeling when I went in to get the monitor put on.

I arrived at the Cardiologist office and immediately noticed that there were no other people in the office under 60, besides myself.  Made me feel really alone at that moment.

They called me back and this young male nurse took me into a room and had me sign a paper saying I was responsible for the Holter monitor should I damage it, $10,000 responsible!! Then he told me that I would wear the Holter Monitor for 24 hours and then take it off. He proceeded to apply alcohol onto 5 spots, then placed stickers that had a little button on the front of it. He placed two on the left and right sides of my chest, right under my clavicle, one in the middle of my sternum, and one on both sides of my lower ribs (on my sides directly down from my underarms). He then brought out this little box that looked like a beeper, remember those?, and attached the five leads coming from it to each of the stickers.

Nothing was painful, or uncomfortable at all, just some stickers with wires attached to them. No big deal at all. I think the worrying about it all was worse than the actual appointment.

I was instructed to wear it for 24 hours, and to push the blue button that said symptom, whenever I would feel a flutter. I was also given a paper that I had to fill out the time of the incident, what I was doing when it happened, how I felt and for how long it occurred.  I was not allowed to take a shower, of course, and was told to just act as I normally would, well as normal as you can with a box attached to you.

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As you can see, the box isn’t cumbersome, you just clipped it to your pants. It really wasn’t a bother until I tried to go to sleep. I was worried about pulling the leads out in my sleep. I didn’t, but it didn’t produce a sound sleep I’ll tell you that much. I wore a sports bra to bed, and tucked the box inside of it.

The next day, at exactly the same time the box was placed on me the day before, the box made a series of beeps letting me know it was time to take it off. All I had to do was remove the stickers (kind of felt like a band-aid being pulled off), pop off the leads and return it back to the Cardiologist’s office.

I did have to push the button a few times, which is a good thing, at least they will be able to see the recording as it happened and hopefully provide me with answers as to why it’s happening.

I take the machine back tomorrow, along with my notes, and will hopefully get the results within a week, along with the blood results. Until then, it’s a waiting game to find out what’s been going on with me.

Have any of you been through something like this?