Your Toddler Needs To Wear A Holter Monitor? Here's What You Need To Know To Avoid Compromised Test Results

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If you've just returned home from a visit with your toddler's pediatrician with an order for a Holter monitor test for a possible heart condition, you may be wondering what all is involved with the test and what you can do to ensure the test is not compromised in any way. After all, toddlers have minds of their own and may not like undergoing a Holter monitor test. Here's what you need to know. 

What is a Holter monitor? 

A Holter monitor is basically a small electrocardiogram that is placed on the chest to record the child's heartbeat. This procedure is typically done in a pediatric cardiologist's office.  A Holter monitor has a series of electrodes that are attached to a recording device that is similar in size to that of a cell phone. The electrodes are placed at specific points on the chest. A Holter monitor is worn for a brief period of time, which typically is 24-48 hours. 

What will your instructions be? 

The pediatric cardiologist will instruct you to push what is called an event button if your child has symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, fainting or shortness of breath. If he or she is on medication, you may be instructed to push the event button when you give your child medication. You'll also be instructed to keep a diary of times that you pushed the event button and the reasons for pushing the button. The button is located on the recording device and is easily identified. However, be sure to clarify the button location with the cardiologist. Also, you will be given instructions on when to return the device to the cardiologist for evaluation. 

How can you prevent your child from detaching the electrodes? 

One of the concerns many parents of toddlers have is whether or not their child will pull on the electrodes and, thus, ruin the test. The electrodes will be securely placed with adhesives, which should make it difficult for a toddler to pull the leads off. However, you can help keep the leads secure by clothing your child in a fitted onesie. Also, you'll want to avoid bathing your child while they are wearing a Holter monitor to prevent their wandering hands from finding the electrodes and pulling on them. It's best to bathe your child before the appointment with the cardiologist but avoid using moisturizers or baby oil so the adhesive is effective.