It's National Inventors Month this month, and there have been so many revolutionary inventions across the world. Montana hasn't been left out either, as one of the most amazing medical inventions of all time came from a doctor from Helena. Let's take a look into Dr. Norman "Jeff" Holter and his amazing invention, the Holter monitor.

What exactly does a Holter monitor do?

Front view male figure torso with holter monitor and ekg/heart rhythm inset
Credit: Bricelyn Strauch / Johns Hopkins Medicine

A Holter monitor is a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. It's designed to measure heart rate and electrical activity over a longer period of time while away from a doctor's office.

Typically, a Holter monitor is given to someone so that a doctor can monitor ECG readings over a period of 24 to 48 hours, but sometimes longer, and is given to people who have symptoms like fainting, dizziness, or an irregular heartbeat. Patients wearing one are requested to make note of any symptoms they have over that period so their doctor can see if the symptoms and the ECG readings correlate.

The Montanan that saved countless lives.

The Holter monitor is named for its creator, Norman "Jeff" Holter. Holter was born in Helena, and in 1957, he and his team discovered that there was a way to track and monitor cardiac rhythms outside of the hospital. Holter's contributions are remembered to this day, and some landmarks in and around his native Helena bear his name. Most notably the Holter Museum of Art.

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The creation of the Holter monitor has been revolutionary, and we have a Montanan to thank. Those interested in learning more about Holter monitors are encouraged to talk to their doctor.

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