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An implantable loop recorder is a heart-monitoring device implanted just beneath the chest's skin. It records your heart's electrical impulses and transmits them automatically to your doctor by way of the internet and wireless technology.
An implantable loop recorder is invisible and doesn't interfere with your daily activities. It has no patches or wires, and you don't have to worry about getting the device wet while bathing or swimming. All you need to do is keep the transmission monitor your doctor gives you beside your bed. Transmissions occur while you're asleep. You can also activate the data transmission process yourself. In addition, your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of your symptoms. It lasts about three years.
Loop recorders can help answer questions about your heart that other heart-monitoring devices don't provide. It can also capture information that a standard electrocardiogram (EKG) or Holter monitor misses because some heart rhythm abnormalities occur infrequently.
Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care has a skilled electrophysiology team who can provide a wide range of cardiac rhythm treatments. Their electrophysiology cardiologists are trained in many different techniques and procedures, many of which can provide you with a shorter recovery period and the opportunity to recover at home.
If you're having fainting spells, an electrocardiogram (EKG) will only record any related heart rhythm abnormalities during the monitoring period—usually about five minutes. Because an implantable loop recorder monitors your heart signals for a much longer time, it's more likely to capture what your heart is doing during a fainting spell.
This device will monitor heart rhythm abnormalities. This information may help your doctor make a definite diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
There is not much preparation required. Before the procedure, tell your doctor of any medications and supplements that you are taking.
The procedure to insert the heart monitor is usually done in a doctor's office, with a local anesthetic. Your doctor makes a tiny incision, inserts the device, which is smaller than a key or a thumb drive and closes the incision. The device stays in place for up to three years.
Your care team will advise you to watch your incision for signs of infection and to limit activities until the wound heals.
You'll likely need to see your doctor once or twice a year for routine checkups while the device is in place. Your doctor will interpret your test results and call you if he or she has any concerns.
These devices are supposed to be safe for use during imaging procedures like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but let your doctor know about your implant before scheduling such a test.
It's also possible an implantable loop recorder might set off metal detectors, for example, at an airport. Your doctor can provide you with a device identification card to carry with you for such situations.