ECG/Holter Information

Having an electrocardiogram (ECG), a Holter ECG monitor and/or ambulatory blood pressure monitor fitted: what you need to know

Our heart beats everyday continuously, do you ever think about that? Most of the time your heart does a great job and you don’t even realise. However, sometimes your heart rate speeds up and you experience palpitations. It is in this scenario that your doctor is likely to request a few tests to check your heart’s beating pattern.

How is your heart rhythm checked? Your referring clinician/GP has asked that one or more of the following tests are carried out.


What is an ECG (Electrocardiogram)?

The ECG is a simple test, with 10 electrodes used to record 12 different views of your heart’s electrical activity. You don’t need to do anything to prepare for it. An electrode is attached to each ankle and wrist with sticky pads and six more are attached to the chest. An ECG is one of the most common heart tests and the first line of cardiac investigations. It is the only way of uncovering certain problems with the heart’s electrical impulses.


What is a Holter ECG monitor and when is one used?

The traditionally used ambulatory cardiac monitor is called a Holter monitor. A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and records heart activity continuously. This allows a doctor to observe how their patient’s heart is functioning over an extended period, to diagnose conditions related to irregular cardiac rhythms. A doctor might ask a patient to wear a Holter monitor continuously for 24 to 48 hours or longer to screen for a cardiac event.


What is an event monitor?

An event monitor and a Holter monitor are similar in that they are used to remotely record heart irregularities to aid in the diagnosis of cardiac conditions, by measuring the heart’s electrical activity. However, an event monitor does not record the heart’s ECG (Holter) continuously. Recordings are started and stopped by the patient, usually when the patient is experiencing symptoms.


What is an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) is when your blood pressure is being measured as you move around, living your normal daily life. It is normally carried out over 24 hours. It uses a small digital blood pressure machine that is attached to a belt around your body and which is connected to a cuff around your upper arm. It small enough that you can go about your normal daily life and even sleep with it on. By measuring your blood pressure at regular intervals over 24 hours, your doctor can get clear pictures of how your blood pressure changes throughout the day.


How ICS Diagnostics are supporting your referring clinician/GP?

Whether you have been to a GP, a private doctor/hospital, or your local NHS hospital, ICS Diagnostics provide the same support to all. Once your test is over, ICS Diagnostics receive your ECG, Holter, or ABPM test for analysis. We provide quick accurate analysis, before returning your results back to your referring clinician/GP. This means you get your results quickly, and it helps take the pressure off the busy clinical services we are partnered with.