Friday, March 27, 2009

What is a Holter monitor?

We headed off to the clinic today and Jamie had his second-ever EKG...which was perfect. Dr. P thought his heart looked and sounded nice and strong. He stressed that the home monitors are notoriously prone to inaccurate readings and that (just to be safe) we should do a little more in-depth investigation. He then put in an order for a Holter monitor and we got Jamie all hooked up.

A Holter monitor is a portable electrocardiogram, or ECG, that your child wears continuously for 24 hours or longer. It is about the size of a pack of cards and may come with a shoulder strap or belt clip so your child can carry it around as he goes through a normal day. (Please note that adults can use Holter monitors as well...I just copy/pasted what I found online.)

Lucky Jamie, he gets to have one for the weekend.

Dr P. actually overall seemed rather surprised that we were going the cardiac route in investigating why Jamie has been having his episodes. As he put it, the heart is usually an 'innocent bystander' when these things happen. HE seemed to think we should be investigating reflux as a possible cause.

It was explained to us that when a child has reflux at this age, when milk backs up into the esophagus, the esophagus closes off as a defense mechanism to avoid having the child aspirate the fluid into the lungs. When this happens, breathing slows or stops and the heart rate can lower. If in fact Jamie has reflux, it could explain his symptoms. (We are not ruling out the possibility of reflux but I've not been convinced that he has the appropriate symptoms when he's awake. He does spit up more than the girls did...but a lot of the other stuff that goes along with reflux just doesn't seem to fit.)

So to sum up today - Jamie is being constantly monitored for the next 48 hours. The records will be read on Monday and we should know by Tuesday if there were any abnormal readings with his heart. If yes, we will hear from Dr P. further (or his partner as he is on vacation). If no, we are to go back to our primary physician to investigate reflux.

So, the good news is that his heart at least appears to be better than fine and we are getting a really good look at it to be sure. The bad news is that we still don't know what is going on.



Anonymous said...

I had no idea that the little guy had all this going on.. Sorry to hear that Jo. But sounds like you are doing everything you can. Hopefully you will get some answers soon.

My youngest came home on a monitor that would wake me up if he stopped breathing when he slept. Izaac had the infant form of sleep apnea when he was in the hospital
But has since grown out of that stage.
If you ever need another Mom to talk to, give me a hollar. Jen (Guinevere from Silfren-Mere)

Sunshine Mama said...

Sounds like you're doing everything you can with this "intermittant" thing that keeps happening. We keep praying.