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When your child's symptoms — such as dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, prolonged fatigue, or heart palpitations — continue to occur without a clear diagnosis after a resting EKG (electrocardiogram), the doctor may want to run EKG tracing over a longer time.
Certain arrhythmias (a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat) that can cause these symptoms may only occur sporadically or under certain conditions such as stress. This makes it hard to obtain data on these types of arrhythmias during an EKG tracing that only runs for a few minutes.
Holter monitoring — a prolonged type of EKG tracing — gives doctors a better chance to capture any abnormal heartbeats or rhythms that may be causing your child's symptoms, especially if they occur often.
The Holter monitor test records your child's EKG tracing, non-stop, for 24 hours or longer.
The care team at the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will give you instructions on:
Event monitoring is much like Holter monitoring. Doctors often order event testing for the same reasons.
Unlike the Holter monitor — which records the entire testing period of 24 to 48 hours without stopping — the event monitor does not record until your child feels symptoms. You or your child must trigger the monitor to record the EKG tracing at the time the symptoms occur.
With an event monitor, your child wears EKG electrode patches on his or her chest. Wire leads connect the electrodes to a recording device.
When your child feels one or more symptoms — such as chest pain, dizziness, or palpitations — one of you will push a button on the event monitor recorder.
Some event monitors have auto-trigger and "memory loop recording" features.
Other monitors, called "post-event recorders," start recording the EKG from the moment you trigger it.
After your child records his or her symptoms, you send the recording to the doctor or to a central monitoring center. You will also keep a diary of your child's symptoms and corresponding activities, just as with the Holter monitoring test.
Some reasons your child's doctor might request a Holter or event monitor test are to:
Depending on the results of the Holter monitor test, your child's doctor may schedule other tests or procedures to help confirm a diagnosis.
To learn more about Holter and event monitoring tests at Children's:
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.