Test: Ambulatory ECG

Ambulatory electrocardiography (ECG) is carried out using a wearable device called a Holter monitor that records the electrical activity of the heart using a number of electrodes attached to the chest. The device is usually worn for 24 hours and detects intermittent arrhythmias (abnormal heart rates and rhythms). An event monitor is a similar device that can be worn for longer periods but records only when it is activated by the user.

Using a Holter monitor

You press a button on the device to mark times when symptoms occur. A doctor can check if these markings coincide with periods of arrhythmia.

Result

ECG trace

This trace shows normal heartbeats interrupted by an isolated abnormal beat, which coincides with a symptom marker.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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