The procedure to implant a loop recorder into the body is a minimally invasive one, although it does have certain risks. Patients who require an implantable loop recorder usually deal with specific symptoms, making their doctors require more information about their heart rhythms in order to diagnose their conditions.
What Is an Implantable Loop Recorder?
An implantable loop recorder is a device that is inserted into the chest underneath the skin. It is used to monitor the heart rhythms, which may be abnormal in some patients, and to determine why patients may be having certain experiences or symptoms like fainting. It is about the size of a paperclip.
Who Needs an Implantable Loop Recorder, When Do They Need It, and Why?
People who experienced dizziness, fainting, seizures, palpitations, lightheadedness, or who have had a stroke might need an implantable loop recorder. The device is a fantastic option for monitoring the heart’s activity before, during, and after these symptoms, which can often be hard to obtain. After all, people who experience these symptoms often do so infrequently, so the device consistently being on their person helps to ensure the chances of recording the heart rhythms when these symptoms occur.
A person will often need this option if their symptoms require more studying in order for an exact diagnosis to be made. The implantable loop recorder is small and doesn’t require the patient to carry around monitors like past devices of its kind once did.
Which Tests Do You Need to Do Before Getting an Implantable Loop Recorder?
If you are experiencing symptoms like those listed above, your doctor will probably start with an EKG test. This will only record a few seconds of your heart rhythm. Other tests like tilt-table testing and Holter monitoring might be implemented before you are ever fitted with an implantable loop recorder.
Which Test Will You Need After This Implantation?
After implantation, you will live with the loop recorder for as long as three years. Your doctor should be able to determine from the recordings what, if any, issues you may have and to be able to diagnose the problem. After diagnosis, many patients require a procedure to fit them with a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
How to Prepare for This Procedure
Most patients don’t need to do anything specific to prepare for the procedure. However, your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink anything from midnight of the night before your procedure. You will also need to tell your physician about any medications you are currently taking before the procedure.
Before, During, and After This Procedure
You will need to understand the possible risks of the procedure to implant a loop recorder, including bleeding, infection, pain, or damage to the blood vessels. Your risks could be different from someone else’s, depending on your age as well as other factors. You will show up to the clinic where the procedure is taking place, and usually, you will be able to return home the same day.
Before the procedure, a local anesthetic will be placed on your skin, and you may be given medication to allow you to relax. The physician will them make an incision on the left side of your chest and place the loop recorder in a pocket created under the skin. The incision will then be closed, and the physician will administer a bandage. The procedure does not require general anesthesia.
After the procedure, you will need someone to take you home and you will probably need to rest directly afterward. It is usually all right to go back to your normal activities soon after, but make sure to keep an eye on the healing incision. You will be given a card that explains you have an implantable loop recorder in place. This will help with everything from getting through airport security with a metal device to going to the hospital with symptoms associated with the loop recorder so doctors will know to check its recordings.
CareCube offers primary care and cardiovascular services designed to help you maintain good heart health. Contact us today to request an appointment and begin the treatment process.