Holter Monitor


A Holter Monitor is a portable device which is able to continually monitor the electrical activity of the heart. The Holter Monitor can be worn from twenty-four hours up to two weeks depending on the doctors instructions. This device the Electrocardiocorder, Model 450 is a portable instrument used for recording the electrocardiograms of ambulatory patients. This particular monitor could be worn for up to ten hours and was used to record the patient's electrocardiogram (EKG) while they go about their daily routine.

The inventor of the Holter Monitor, Norman Jefferis "Jeff" Holter (1914-1983), was born in Helena, Montana to a prominent pioneering family. After attending public schools in Helena, he earned masters degrees in chemistry from the University of Southern California (1938), and physics from the University of California, Los Angeles (1940).

During World War II, Holter served as a senior physicist for the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Ships. After the war in 1946, Holter headed a staff of oceanographic engineers at Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads, the first post war atomic bomb tests.

Returning to Montana in 1947, Holter formed the Holter Research Foundation. His main field of interest was to transmit biological information, primarily brain waves, by radio. Holter's introduction to Dr. Paul Dudley White, a renowned cardiologist, helped convince him to focus his research on recording electrical activity of the heart.

Thr first broadcast of a radio electrocardiogram took place in 1947.

As articles describing the foundation's invention began to appear in the professional literature, there was considerable demand from doctors and hospitals for the equipment. Dr. Corday introduced Holter to Bruce Del Mar, founder of the Del Mar Avionics Corporation in Irvine, California. Del Mar engineers developed the “electrocardiocorder” for clinical development, producing a commercially viable monitor which came to be known as the Holter Monitor Test. Further refinements led to the creation of a "minimonitor" in 1968 which was described by Holter as being the "size of a cigarette package." Commercial production of the Holter minimonitor AVSEP, Jr., began in 1969. The Holter Research Foundation ultimately sold exclusive rights to their patents to Del Mar Engineering Laboratories, later known as Del Mar Avionics. A team of engineers diverted their attention from successful manufacturing of military weapons training devices to focus on improving the speed and accuracy of computerized ECG analysis to become the acknowledged leader in Holter monitoring technology for over 40 years.

In 1969, because of the increased amount of required paper work and red tape, Holter cancelled the grant funding his foundation had been receiving from NIH. The foundation continued to maintain a laboratory and conduct varied scientific work, but on a much smaller scale. The Holter Research Foundation, Inc. was dissolved in 1985, two years after Holter’s death.

Date Made: About 1971

Maker: Del Mar Avionics

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: California, Los Angeles

Subject: Diagnostic EquipmentMedicineCardiology


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Del Mar Avionics

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2011.0196.02Accession Number: 2011.0196Catalog Number: 2011.196.02

Object Name: holter monitor

Physical Description: plastic; metal; rubber; paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 8.6 cm x 10.3 cm x 4.6 cm; 3 3/8 in x 4 1/16 in x 1 13/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-57b0-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1411224

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