Ambulatory ECG (Holter monitoring)

Holter monitoring has become the standard approach for monitoring heart rate and rhythm in the field of human cardiology. The advent of small, lightweight yet robust digital recorders now enables us to offer this to dogs and even cats too.

One of the main indications for Holter monitoring is investigation of collapse. This may be the first sign of a serious underlying cardiac disease such as cardiomyopathy, where Holter monitoring can help to identify dangerous occult arrhythmias. Diagnosis is important in such cases, since recent evidence has shown that treatment of occult dilated cardiomyopathy can significantly improve longevity in Dobermans.

Holter monitoring is also invaluable in assessing true heart rate in cases of congestive heart failure or atrial fibrillation, without the “white coat effect” of the clinic environment.

Other indications:​

  • Identifying frequency and severity of arrhythmia detected in the clinic by auscultation or standard ECG.
  • Assessing response to anti-arrhythmic or heart rate control medication.
  • Screening for evidence of arrhythmia as part of pre-clinical (occult) disease in breeds pre-disposed to cardiomyopathy (e.g. Dobermans and Boxers).
  • Differentiating cardiogenic syncope from neurally mediated syncope or atypical seizures.
express diagnostics logo

Our Holter monitoring service is in association with Express Diagnostics, providers of high quality cardiology services to the human medical field.

Holter monitoring services for veterinary cardiologists

We offer quantitative Holter analysis for veterinary cardiologists owning their own Lifecard CF Holter monitors, using the Spacelabs Pathfinder digital system. Please contact us for further information.

Cardiologists wising to purchase our bespoke Holter Monitoring Vests please use the link below.

How to request a Holter monitor

A Holter monitor can be requested by completing the online submission form below or downloading and completing a submission form from the downloads section. Alternatively you can contact us by phone.

The monitor is usually dispatched the next working day after receipt of the submission form unless you have specified a certain date. Your monitor will be supplied with a complete fitting kit including a Lifecard CF monitor, HeartVets Holtervest, electrodes, battery, instructions and patient diary to be completed by the client. Duplicate forms are also available from the downloads section.

The monitor is preset to record for 48 hours, and in most cases a recording duration of around 24 hours is considered appropriate for assessment of heart rate or rhythm away from the clinic. If your patient is suffering an episodic collapse the monitor can be set to record for up to 7 days and the set-up process for weekly recording is detailed in the fitting kit instructions.

When recording is complete you can remove the monitor but you DO NOT need to switch it off or press any buttons (although if you have pressed buttons accidentally this does not affect the recording).

To arrange collection of your monitor and vest please reply to the email you received confirming dispatch of the monitor, or you can call us on 0800 999 4333, or email diagnostics@heartvets.co.uk and request a collection. A courier collection will be arranged for the next day and you will be supplied with the tracking number.

Here we show how to fit a Lifecard holder monitor to a dog using one of our bespoke Holter monitoring vests.