Common Tests for Arrhythmia

Updated:Dec 21,2016

Several tests can help your doctor diagnose an arrhythmia. View an animation of arrhythmia.

Common Tests for Arrhythmia

Suspected arrhythmias sometimes may be documented by using a small, portable ECG recorder, called a Holter monitor (or continuous ambulatory electrocardiographic monitor). This can record 24 hours (and sometimes more) of continuous electrocardiographic signals. While an ECG is sort of a 12-second "snapshot" of the heart's electrical activity, the Holter monitor is more like a "movie."

As with an ECG, electrodes are taped to the chest. The wires are connected to a portable, battery-operated recorder that can run for 24 to 48 hours. You can do most normal activities while being tested. You may need to keep a diary or log of your activities and symptoms.

At the end of the measurement period, the recorder’s tape or memory is analyzed on a computer that rapidly identifies rhythm disturbances that occurred while you were wearing the monitor. The diary helps your healthcare professional see how your activities or symptoms correspond to recorded events in your heart.

For suspected arrhythmias that occur less frequently than every day, your doctor might have you wear an event monitor.

Download our printable Holter monitor diary form.

Learn more about Holter Monitors.

This content was last reviewed September 2016.


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