What is an implantable loop recorder?
An implantable loop recorder is a small device that measures approximately 2x5x40mm, that is inserted under the skin of the chest to monitor your heart rhythm.
Why do I need an implantable loop recorder?
Your doctor may recommend a loop recorder to be inserted if they suspect you have had a disturbance of your heart rhythm that could require further treatment.
What are the risks of an implantable loop recorder?
The procedure is very safe and usually very well tolerated.
The most common risk for this procedure is bruising or swelling at the point where the device enters the body. This usually resolves within a couple of days.
- Uncommon risks can include:
- Haematoma (large bruise) formation.
Your doctor will explain all of the risks in detail before you agree to the surgery – and you’re also encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns. Your doctor will ask you to sign a consent form to agree to have the procedure.
How do I prepare for loop recorder insertion?
- You may be asked to fast (not eat) for a few hours before your procedure begins. Ask your doctor.
- Putting on a hospital gown
What happens during a loop recorder insertion?
Your loop recorder insertion takes place in a hospital room that looks like an operating theatre. You will be awake throughout the procedure.
Antibiotics are sometimes administered prior to the procedure to help minimise the risk of infection.
- During the procedure your doctor will:
- Give you a local anaesthetic – to numb the area on your chest where the loop recorder insertion will be inserted.
- Make a small cut to allow the device to be inserted.
- Gently insert a specially designed tool that makes a pocket for the device to sit in.
- Gently insert the device into the pre-formed pocket.
- The small incision will then be closed. Your doctor may use a stitch or special dressings to keep the wound closed and allow it to heal. They will then place a dressing on the wound which needs to be kept dry for 10 days.
- Overall, the procedure takes less than 15 minutes.
What happens after the loop recorder is inserted?
- You will be discharged from hospital an hour or two after insertion.
- You will usually be given a monitor that connects to your home phone line and allows the device to upload information about your heart rhythm to your heart specialist at pre-determined intervals.
- You will need to return to your specialist or GP for a wound review at two weeks.
- You will then be monitored by your heart specialist in an ongoing fashion.
- The battery in the device can last up to three years. After that point, it is usually taken out in a similar fashion to the way it was put in.