An implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a type of heart-monitoring device that records your heart rhythm continuously for up to three years. It is a small device about the size of a USB memory stick that is implanted just under the skin of the chest. It records the electrical signals of your heart. The ILR is a useful diagnostic tool when patients experience symptoms such as syncope (fainting), seizures, recurrent palpitations, lightheadedness, or dizziness regularly but not often enough to be captured by a 24-hour or 14-day external monitor. Because of the ILR’s long battery life (up to 3 years), the heart can be monitored for an extended period.
The ILR is implanted by a Cardiologist under local anesthesia. A small incision (about 3–4 cm) is made just lateral to the sternum below the nipple line, usually on the patient’s left side. A pocket is created under the skin, and the ILR is placed in the pocket. Patients can go home the day of the procedure with few restrictions on activities. Bruising and discomfort in the implant area may persist for several weeks. Patients are instructed in use of the activator, and advised to schedule an appointment with their physician after using it so that information stored in the ILR can be retrieved for diagnosis.
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