Implantable Loop Recorder
An implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a heart monitoring device which is implanted in the body. It records the heart's rhythm continuously. An ILR can record the electrical signals of the heart for up to three years. An ILR is safe under the skin for longer than the life of the battery, there are no adverse effects on the patient's health.
An ILR helps to monitor a patient's symptoms and their heart's electrical activity. Like an EKG or Holter Monitor, the ILR checks the patient's heart for issues, however an ILR is able to monitor for a much longer period of time (up to three years).
A few of the issues that an ILR can be helpful in identifying include screening for certain arrhythmias, bradycardia in a heart which may need a pacemaker, episodes of atrial fibrillation (afib) after a stroke, and assessing a patient with atrial fibrillation.
Before the Procedure
Very little preparation is necessary for an implantable loop recorder. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything the morning of the procedure. Your healthcare provider may also ask you not to take certain medicines before the procedure. Don't stop taking any medications without specific instructions from your provider.
During the Procedure
A small incision is made on the chest, the ILR device is inserted under the skin and the incision is closed. ILR procedures are usually done using local anesthesia, though conscious sedation is used in some cases.
After the Procedure
The ILR is safe under the skin, after the procedure is complete patients can go home the same day in most cases.
There is a chance of a skin reaction or an infection from the procedure implanting the ILR, though these risks are common to most surgical procedures. There is also a chance that the device is difficult to read and needs to be moved to another location.