What’s the Difference Between a Holter Monitor and an Event Monitor?
Holter monitors and event monitors are two different kinds of heart rhythm monitoring devices that can help doctors diagnose specific cardiac issues such as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. They can record how fast your heart is beating, whether your heartbeat is steady or irregular, and can even determine the strength and timing of the electrical impulses as they pass through your heart. Although Holter and event monitors are similar in nature, there are a couple of key differences that set them apart.
These types of monitors are known as “continuous EKGs” because they consistently record your heart rhythm for between 72 hours. About the size of a pack of playing cards, this battery-powered portable device can either be clipped to a belt or stored in a pocket. Several wires connect the device to a series of sensors called electrodes that are stuck to your chest using adhesive patches. These electrodes detect your heart’s electrical signals so that the monitor can record your heart rhythm.
Event monitors do have quite a few similarities to Holter monitors. They are also worn throughout the day, have wires that connect the device to sensors, and even use adhesive patches to stick electrodes to your chest just like Holter monitors.
So What Exactly is the Difference?
One of the most fundamental differences between the two distinct kinds of monitors is how they record your heart’s electrical activity. Event monitors do not perpetually monitor your heart rhythm like Holter monitors do. Instead, they only record your heart’s electrical activity when you are experiencing symptoms. Some event monitors will automatically begin recording if they detect abnormal heart rhythms, while others rely on the user to manually activate the device when they feel symptoms. The major downfall to using an event monitor is that it does not capture events that occur without physical symptoms and has the potential to lead to a missed diagnosis.
Another difference between event monitors and Holter monitors is the size of the device. Holter monitors are typically larger than event monitors. This is because Holter monitors are active throughout the entire day rather than just when the user is experiencing symptoms, so they need to store significantly more information than event monitors.
Reliability Wins Out
At the end of the day, you want a Holter monitor that works when you need it to with minimal patient input. Consistent device performance and accurate reporting mean fewer headaches for your practice and happier patients.
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