What is an Implantable Loop Recorder?
An implantable loop recorder, or ILR, is a device that monitors abnormal electrical signals in the heart. After the device is embedded below the skin, the patient’s heart rhythm can be recorded continuously for up to four years. This long-term monitoring system allows the doctor to diagnose abnormalities that occur very infrequently.
Your doctor may suggest an ILR if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Unexplained fainting, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular heartbeat
- Atrial fibrillation
- Unexplained stroke
What Happens During an Implantable Loop Recorder Procedure?
During the procedure, your doctor will administer a local anesthetic to numb the skin. A small incision is made in the upper chest area, just to the left of the sternum. An insertion tool is placed under the skin to create a tract for the ILR. The ILR is then inserted gently into the pocket, and the tool is removed. Your doctor will close the incision with surgical glue, sutures, or staples. The entire procedure takes 15-30 minutes.
What are the Risks of an Implantable Loop Recorder?
Though the risks associated with the procedure are rare, some patients may experience bleeding, bruising, infection, or mild pain at the implantation site. Individual risks will depend on your age, pre-existing conditions, and other factors. Ask your healthcare provider about any risks of the procedure for you.