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The coming together of LifeLabs, BC Biomedical and CML HealthCare.
LifeLabs is Canada’s largest community laboratory testing services provider.
Holter monitoring is a test used to detect possible heart-related problems when you experience symptoms like dizziness, irregular heartbeats orfainting. Holter monitoring is most commonly used to detect cardiac arrhythmias.
Cardiac arrhythmias or abnormal heartbeats, is a group of conditions in which the heart beats too fast, too slow or erratically. A person with cardiacarrhythmia may have unexplained dizziness or fainting, palpitations or in some rare cases, may experience no symptom at all. Your doctor maybe the first to notice signs of an arrhythmia. This will probably be during a routine physical exam when they listen to your heartbeat or perform anelectrocardiogram (ECG).
Some arrhythmias can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or sudden cardiac death (which kills over 40,000 Canadians a year). Atrial fibrillation is the most common serious arrhythmia and affects about 2% to 3% of people in North America and Europe.
Atrial fibrillation is a widespread arrhythmia, affecting approximately 350,000 Canadians. The riskof developing atrial fibrillation increases with age and with other risk factors such as diabetes, highblood pressure and underlying heart disease. The main complications of atrial fibrillation are strokeand heart failure. People with atrial fibrillation have a risk of stroke that is 3 to 6 times greater thanpeople without atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation can also lead to heart failure. Heart failure is a condition in which your heart can’tcirculate enough blood to meet your body’s needs. Atrial fibrillation’s irregular, fast heart beat leadsto ineffective pumping of the blood which – especially if not controlled – may weaken the heart.
A holter monitor is a small, lightweight recording device with sensors that are attached to your chest.
This device monitors your heart’s electrical activity as you go about your daily routine, at home orwork. The recorder is typically attached to your chest for 24 hours, but a longer duration can bechosen based on how often your symptoms appear. This is especially useful if your symptoms areintermittent and not detected during an ECG test.
Your heart’s rhythm is transmitted and recorded, then played back into a computer so it can be analyzed by a cardiac technologist and confirmed by a cardiologist to find out what is causing your arrhythmia.
If you have unexplained palpitations, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, anxiety or fatigue, or if you have a family history of sudden cardiac death, your doctor may recommend holter monitoring.
Abnormal heart rhythms and other types of cardiac symptoms can come and go. Monitoring fora longer period of time is necessary to record these events. The Holter monitor lets your doctorsee how your heart functions on a long-term basis.
If you’re already being treated for heart problems, wearing your monitor can help your doctordetermine if your medicine is working or if changes need to be made.
Your doctor will provide you with a requisition form and book an appointment for you at a specific LifeLabs location. Your requisition form will indicate the duration of recording, which can vary from 24 hours to 2 weeks.
At your appointment, you can expect the following:
Make sure your appointment is booked for both hookup and disconnection, and if your doctorhas given you a paper requisition, bring it with you.
Your results will be sent to your doctor shortly after your disconnection appointment. Yourdoctor will read your activity journal and analyze the results of the monitor. Depending on theresults of the test, you may need to undergo further testing before a diagnosis is made.
The Holter monitor may reveal that your medicine isn’t working or your dosage needs to bealtered if you’re already taking medication for an abnormal heart rhythm. It’s especially useful indetecting abnormal heart rhythms that are painless and unknown to you.
This is a non-invasive test in which you
will wear a recording device for a specific
duration of time.
There is no charge for this test if you
have provincial health coverage in
Your results will be available to your
healthcare provider within 1 week.
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