An implantable loop recorder, as the name indicates, is a recording device. It records the heartbeat and provides important information about the hidden rhythm, and fast and slow heartbeats. The machine acts as an electrocardiogram and monitors the heart. The doctor places the device in the chest through a minor procedure. It stores the data of ECG for future analysis. The patients generally have the loop recorder implanted for 2-3 years. Where there is no need, the doctor removes them with a similar procedure.
WHO REQUIRES AN IMPLANTABLE LOOP RECORDER?
There are several conditions when the doctor recommends the implantation of a loop recorder. It is useful in the patients that have an unexplained stroke, irregular or abnormal heartbeat, and have palpitations or fainting episode. One of the benefits of a loop recorder is that it also records the data missed by electrocardiogram or Holter’s monitor. The doctor, with the help of information given by the loop recorder, identifies if the fainting or palpitations are due to the problem in the heart.
HOW DOES THE IMPLANTABLE LOOP RECORDER WORK?
There is a magnetic trigger present over the device. As you experience palpitations, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, or other symptoms, you may activate the device by placing your hand on the activator. The device activates and records the heartbeat readings. It will help the doctor in analyzing the changes in your heart rhythm during the symptoms.
HOW TO PREPARE BEFORE LOOP RECORDER IMPLANTATION PROCEDURE?
You should seek complete information about the procedure, your recovery period, cost involves, and the time at which the device remains in your body. You should also take the information about the complications and why you need the device. Your doctor may also ask you to stop eating from the night before the surgery. You should follow all the instructions given by the doctor. Provide complete information on the medicine that you are taking.
HOW DO THE DOCTOR IMPLANTS A LOOP RECORDER?
The healthcare team will take you into the operation theatre. The doctor may administer you the sedatives for relaxation and makes your chest area numb by applying a local anesthetic. The doctor makes an incision on the upper part of the chest to form a pocket. The doctor places the loop recorder device in the pocket and closes the incision. The doctor then covers the incision with a bandage.
HOW IS THE RECOVERY AFTER THE IMPLANTATION OF THE LOOP RECORDER?
The doctor may discharge you either on the same day or the next day of the surgery. The nurse will provide you the complete information regarding taking care of the wound and the functioning of the device. The doctor may also prescribe certain antibiotics and pain relievers that help to manage your symptoms. The doctor advises you to gradually discontinue the medicines. You should consult the doctor if you have pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the incision.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH IMPLANTABLE LOOP RECORDERS?
The loop recorder implantation is a minor procedure, and there are fewer chances of complications. Some of the complications that may occur during or after the procedure include infection, bleeding, pain and inflammation at the site, and damage to blood vessels or the heart.
WHAT ABOUT THE RESULTS OF IMPLANTABLE LOOP RECORDER?
There is a transmitter that transmits all the data to the doctor. The doctor may advise you to visit the clinic if the data analysis concludes concern. The doctor may also ask you to visit for a follow-up to ensure that the device is working normally.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS DO I HAVE TO FOLLOW AFTER IMPLANTING THE LOOP RECORDER?
The device did not cause any hindrance in your routine life. There is no problem with bathing or swimming. However, the device may raise an alarm during the airport security check-up. There is no need to worry as you would have a device identification card that your doctor issue you to manage such situations. Although the device is not affected by MRI, it is always good to inform the doctor, before the procedure, that you have an implantable loop recorder.