Holter Monitoring Prevention
Sudden cardiac death is often preventable, but the idea of prevention is not feasible unless a diagnosis is made, prompted by the occurrence of predisposing signs (ECG) or symptoms (syncope, palpitations). The 10-second burst tracings from even a 12-lead ECG can often miss transient episodes that portend poorly for a patient’s survival. Unless there is a great deal of luck or there is obvious, permanent heart disease, warning signals can be missed without the use of long-term monitoring equipment.
When life-threatening conditions lay dormant, only to arise and provoke sudden cardiac events or death, the Holter monitor offers an excellent opportunity to prevent such consequences. From information gleaned from the data accrued by long-term monitoring, management of current drugs and their side effects, addition of other drugs to mitigate symptoms, and implantations of pacemakers and cardioverters-defibrillators can extend a cardiac patient’s life indefinitely. When long-term monitoring identifies the presence of abnormal pacemakers, further isolation by a focused examination of repeat 12-lead electrocardiography can make possible pre-ablation strategies to destroy such tissue.
Serious cardiac events are often preluded by fleeting, intermittent events, such that when syncope, near-syncope, palpitations, or other uncomfortable symptomatology present, it is prudent to further explore such discomforting symptoms by either a better quality look (12-lead ECG) and a long-duration appraisal (Holter or other long-term monitoring) to prevent the natural progression of cardiac disease that can result in preventable sudden cardiac death.