Allergic to Holter/ECG electrodes?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 10/22/2010 8:45 AM (GMT -6)   
(This message is cross-posted in both Heart & Cardiovascuar Disease and Allergies & Asthma.)
I just spent 24 hours wearing a holter monitor, a portable heart test device for those who don't know.  I seem to have had an allergic reaction to something in the electrodes that were attached to my skin, but I'm not 100% sure.
When the technician first attached the electrodes, they stung and burned, with a little itching.  This continued but decreased over the next 1-1.5 hours.  This morning when I removed them, the places where the electrodes - or rather the gel on them - touched my skin were red.  The rest of the area, including where the adhesive had been, was fine.
Anyone in either forum ever have a reaction like this?
The technician asked me - belatedly - if I was allergic to nickel, claiming that the gel contained it, but the package doesn't say; it does list silver, though.  I have a call in to the company that makes them to find out for sure.  I didn't think I was allergic to either metal.  For the allergy folks, does this sound like your symptoms of a metal allergy? 
Of course, if it ends up being silver allergy, the dentist gets involved next, as I have the old-style metal fillings in my teeth, and they contain silver.
I seem to be developing or discovering new sensitivities every few months, and it's really getting me down.  I never know what's allergen-safe any more.  :(

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/23/2010 11:05 AM (GMT -6)   
I know they make hypoallergenic patches for Holter Monitors but I am not sure what is in the gel.  I have read of people getting blisters and hives from these patches so next time do quiz the staff before allowing the patches to be applied.
Take care,
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/14/2010 3:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had alot of experience with those stupid monitors. I once had to wear one for a whole month. Not fun. I have heard that more and more people are allergic to leads. They sometimes have different options like event monitors which is a bracelet instead of having to wear a regular monitor with the stickers. Try looking into that option.
Good luck!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 12/16/2010 1:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Yup, yup, I was just recently scripted a 30 day event monitor and then a 21 day event monitor and both times before they sent the monitor (eCardio out of TX) they specifically asked if I have ever had a rash or other reaction to the electrodes (the patches) and since I hadn't they then told me if I developed a rash or itch or redness, etc. to call them and they would immediately send something else to use. I don't remember what.

And when eCardio says immediately they aren't kidding. I talked to them the one day in the afternoon and the next MORNING I had the event monitor (TX to MI) overnight by Fed Ex.
I haven't minded the event monitor at all. Its kind of a neat gadget. I don't have to press a button to alert them to an "event" and write down what I was doing at the time. The monitor records any events and reports them to eCardio via wireless and if it is a serious or critical event they immediately call you and your cardiologist or ordering doctor. At that time they ask you what you are/were doing and the cardiologist determines whether you should call 911 for an amublance to go to ER or whatever.
We aren't in the best of cellular areas. Often I can't use my cell phone until I drive 2 miles north of the house. These event monitors evidently has a stronger reach as only once has there been a problem for it to send a recording to eCardio and it just stored the recording to send at a later date. If it is a serious event I "think" that it can start screeching and alert you even if you are sleeping. I forget whether I read that or not, I think I did. You CAN also manually send them a recording by calling them then pushing the button and sending the recording via your landline.
Its only slightly larger than a cigarette pack, not particularly heavy and it tells you if it is monitoring, recording or reporting on the LCD screen. It also tells you how low the battery is getting, how many recordings it is storing if it is storing any and the strength of the wireless signal. It really is kind of a neat, interesting gadget and the folks at eCardio are great if you call them for any reason. 24 hours a day.
I'm sure there are other companies like eCardio out there but this is the only 2 times I've been scripted an event monitor. I sure like it a lot better than when they were provided by our local hospital w/the old you have to push the button and write down what you were doing and decide for yourself whether to call the doctor or go to ER or whatever. My neighbor had to do that just last year. Sometimes progress is good!
My computer says I need to upgrade my brain to be compatible with its new software.

Post Edited (CrohnieToo) : 12/16/2010 11:45:23 AM (GMT-7)

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/26/2012 12:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I had to wear a holter monitor for 48 hours, but I was so itchy I had to take it off early. The ECG leads were held on by gauze and medical tape. I took the medical tape off first to try to get rid of the itching, and after I peeled it off, I noticed I had hives everywhere!! The itchiness was under the ECG leads too so I took them off (7 hours early) and had blisters and round burn-like marks under those as well. I called the dr. to ask what I could have been allergic to, but they didn't call me back! It's been 48 hrs and I still have marks on my skin. I had to take an antihistamine to get the itching to stop. I've been looking for some answers online, and I can only assume that it's the glue in the adhesives. I didn't have any marks in the centre of the ECG lead areas, so I don't believe it had anything to do with the gel. It reminded me that some band-aids give me hives as well, but I assumed my skin was just sensitive!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2015
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/5/2015 8:02 AM (GMT -6)   
I have to wear this holter monitor for 21 days and the adhesives are leaving burn circles, I have redness, itching and some blistering. I wonder if it will still work if I use tape instead. I still have a week or so to go.
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