If you’ve ever had heart issues or complications, then you may have come across and are aware of some types of cardiac monitors.
There are differences between a Holter monitor and ECG that are worth learning more about and noting. It’s wise to be informed about what these devices do and how they may someday be able to monitor your heart’s activity and keep you healthy. Continue reading to learn what these monitors do and how they each differ from one another.
A cardiac monitor, also known as a heart monitor, is a device that allows for the continuous monitoring of the heart’s activity through electrocardiography (ECG/EKG). When not at the doctor’s office, a person can wear an ambulatory cardiac monitor to keep an eye on the heart and what it’s doing from home. The purpose is for a doctor to see what the heart is doing over an extended period. The information that’s collected will allow the healthcare professional to diagnose conditions related to irregular cardiac rhythms.
Any instance of irregularity that has to do with the heart is known as a cardiac event. The most severe types include cardiac arrest (heart attack), atrial fibrillation, and heart arrhythmia.
The ambulatory cardiac monitor that doctors traditionally use is called a Holter monitor. A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device. It measures and records heart activity (electrocardiogram or ECG) continuously for several days. A patient might need to wear one so the doctor can monitor heart activity over a few days or longer. They’ll be looking for and screening for cardiac events such as atrial fibrillation and suspected stroke. Wearing the Holter monitor itself has no risks involved, and the tests are painless.
An electrocardiogram (abbreviated as EKG or ECG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat. ECGs are often done in a doctor’s office, a clinic, or a hospital room. An ECG gives two major kinds of information. Measuring how long a wave takes to travel from one part of the heart to the next will show a doctor if the electrical activity is normal or slow, fast, or irregular. It also tells a doctor if parts of the heart are too large or overworked by measuring the amount of electrical activity that’s passing through the heart muscle. There’s no harm done to the body using an ECG, nor should there be any discomfort.
A Holter monitor will provide a complete picture of heart activity necessary for the diagnosis of cardiac conditions, more so than an ECG. The monitor records the heart’s behavior continuously. An electrocardiogram is a painless, noninvasive way to help diagnose many common heart problems in people of all ages. However, it may not provide as comprehensive of results you’ll receive from using the Holter monitor. Speak to your doctor about any signs or symptoms so you can work together to find the best solution.