Why a 24 hour Holter Monitor is Applied?
Symptoms, Abnormalities and 24 Hour Holter Results
A 24 hour holter monitor records continuous ecg during day and night away from clinical environment while normal daily activities are pursued. Therefore, a 24 hour holter monitor provide information above and over conventional standard ecg monitors. When the patient feels dizzines, faintness, racing heart, skipped beats, chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue or weakness, investigating the cause of these symptoms by recording beat-by-beat ecg will be necessary. A 24 hour holter monitor is the best tool to discover the backgrounds of cardiac abnormalities.
What Conditions May be Diagnosed with a 24 Hour Holter Monitor?
- transient, abnormal (fast and slow, irregular) heart beats
- the cause of unexplained syncopes (faintness), dizziness and palpitaions
- the cause of chest pain of patients who cannot exercise
- heart condition after a myocardial infarction
- adverse effects on the heart from other diseases (high blood pressure)
24 Hour Holter Monitor Results
Heart problems, such as insufficient, excessed heart frequency, uncoordinated pump function or any damage in heart muscle are reflected in ecg signals. A normal ecg is composed of a P wave, a QRS complex and a T wave, all represents the heart condition in active (depolarization) or resting (repolarization) state.
- Insufficient Heart Frequency
Insufficient heart frequency means abnormally slow heart rhythm which may result in bradycardia or pause. In case of bradycardia the resting heart rate is under 60 beats per minute in adult medicine. Possible symptoms are: fatigue, dizziness, weakness. In case of pause the heart stops temporarily. Both conditions hinder sufficient blood and oxygen supply.
- Excessed Heart Frequency
Excessed heart frequency or tachycardia results in fast heart rate, which does not allow enough time for the heart to fill before it contracts so normal blood flow is compromised.
- Uncoordinated Pump Function
The wrong sequence of electrical impulse flows and uncoordinated contraction of the heart muscle require prompt interventions.
- Heart Muscle Damage
Blockage or damaged or even died heart cells may be the result of a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
On the basis of recorded ecg, 24 hour holter monitor results will show whether the patient suffers from any cardiac abnormalities.
Risks of Cardiac Abnormalities
On the basis of the recorded ecg, the medical professional will know whether the patient has any chances for developing serious cardiovascular irregularities.
- Heart Rate Variability
Heart rate variability (HRV) describes the variations between consecutive heart beats. No variations between R-R intervals indicates high inflexibility meaning that the heart cannot adjust to changing environment. Abnormal changes in R-R cycles indicate arrhythmias.
- ST Abnormalities
ST segment abnormalities include ST elevation or ST depression, something which can be clearly indicated by a 24 hour holter monitor. ST elevation signals myocardial injury, while ST depression indicates myocardial ischemia, which can worsen to injury (heart attack). Ischemia means lack of oxygen supply to tissues.
- Heart Rate Turbulence
Heart rate turbulence (HRT) means a short acceleration followed by a deceleration of the heart rate. HRT gives information on the risk of sudden cardiac death.
- Long or Short QT
A shortened QT interval may indicate elevated calcium level (hypercalcemia), while prolonged QT may be the indicator of low serum calcium level (hypocalcemia) in the blood. Prolonged QT may indicate high risk of dangerous ventricular tachycardia.
- QT Dispersion
QT dispersion is the difference between QT maximum and QT minimum, considered each ECG lead and a sole beat in a specific moment. QT dispersion gives information on the possibility of sudden cardiac death. But what constitutes a normal level of QT dispersion is still being debated.
- T-Wave Alternans
T wave alternans is a beat-to-beat variation in the direction, shape and amplitude of T wave. It gives information on the risk of sudden cardiac death or other heart diseases.
A 24 hour holter monitor is a perfect tool to detect rhythm disturbances and risk factors of heart disease.