inventions inventions inventions inventions

Holter monitor - Invented by Norman Holter

Norman Holter-Holter monitor
: 1965
: United States
: Medicine & Healthcare

About Invention

In medicine, a Holter monitor (often simply "Holter" or occasionally ambulatory electrocardiography device) is a portable device for continuously monitoring various electrical activity of the cardiovascular system for at least 24 hours (often for two weeks at a time).0-

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in America. An estimated 2,200 men and women die each day from cardiovascular disease–these heart disease fatalities surpass all forms of cancer-related deaths combined. Needless to say, this is a serious problem that the medical community has worked tirelessly to combat. On the front of diagnostic tools that monitor the activities of the heart comes a revolutionary invention created by Norman “Jeff” Holter and Bruce Del Mar. Over the span of about two decades, these men created a commercially available device called the Holter Monitor Test.

Invention History

The project started with Norman Holter, a biophysicist and inventor who took an interest in studying the electrical activities of the human heart. Holter’s goal was to record and broadcast the activity of the heart, specifically while someone was performing routine activities. Prior to this, heart monitoring was done on individuals who were restricted by wires and heavy machinery, making them inactive.

His first recording took place around 1947, while Holter was riding a stationary bicycle. It was the first successful recording of heart activity in a non-stationary position, however the equipment that was strapped to his back weighed about 85 pounds, which proved to be impractical for extended use. This was remedied with the invention of transistors, which allowed all the necessary components of the monitor to be scaled down to fit into a coat pocket or purse.

It didn’t take long for Holter’s invention to receive some critical attention in professional literature. The ensuing demand from doctors and hospitals lead Holter to pursue a partnership with Del Mar Engineering Laboratories. From around 1965 onwards, Del Mar played a crucial role in collaborating with Holter to continually improve every aspect of the Holter Monitor. Records and writings show a deep level of passion and dedication by these men to create a marketable version of the monitor.

Thanks to these men and their collaboration, doctors now have the ability to send patients home with a Holter Event Monitor to record their heart as they go about their regular activities. 


Invention Images



View Photos


View Photos