implantable loop recorder

How does Implantable Loop Recorder monitor heart rhythm?

An implantable loop recorder (ICR) is a small device used to continuously record and monitor cardiac rhythms. It is implanted into the body under the skin on the chest and is used for cardiac monitoring for up to 3 years.

This diagnostic tool helps to determine the cause behind the symptoms experienced by the patient regularly. The signs that prompt ICR implantation is syncope, seizures, recurring palpitations, and dizziness that an external monitor cannot capture. 

How does an implantable loop recorder work?

Implantable Loop Recorder

The patient will be given a medicine to relax, and a local anesthetic will be used to numb the skin. A small incision of about 2 cm will be made in the patient’s left upper chest. A small pocket is made in this area, and the ICR will be implanted in this pocket. (Image credit)

The wound is then closed using dissolvable sutures. The nurse dresses this area and gives instructions on when the dressing can be removed. Antibiotics may be given to the patient to minimize the chances of infection.

The patient is usually instructed to keep the wound clean and dry until it is fully healed. The Implantable Loop Recorder is often programmed to the required settings by the cardiologist before the implantation.

After the procedure, the patient will be instructed on how and when to use the activator. This handheld device must be placed over the implantable loop recorder to record an episode once the symptoms begin. The activator must be pressed as near to the event as possible and store the last three activations only. It generally overwrites the older ones before recording the new events.

The ILR is usually removed after the diagnosis has been made or its battery life has expired. In the case of the latter, a new device is implanted in place of the older one. Once the doctor identifies or rules out the reason behind the symptoms, the device is removed, similar to how it was implanted.

Are there any risks involved in it?

Implanting an ILR involves a minimal risk of bleeding, bruising, infection, damage to the heart and blood vessels, and mild pain at the implantation site.

FAQs: Implantable Loop Recorder

What are preparations required from the patient? The patient is asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the evening before the test. The patient must notify the doctor about the medications being taken and stop taking them only if instructed.

How long does it take?  It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete the procedure.

Who performs it? An electrophysiologist generally implants the Implantable Loop Recorder.

How much does it cost? This device costs around Rs. 11K in India.

When can I go home after the procedure? The patient can leave the hospital and go home after the test. He/she can resume their normal activities but may want to rest for some time.


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