Why It’s Done
What Is an Implantable Loop Recorder?
An implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a small device implanted just under the skin of a patient’s chest to record the heart’s electrical activity. Our doctors can perform this procedure with patients under local anesthesia.
ILRs are recommended for patients who experience symptoms such as fainting, seizures, recurrent palpitations, light-headedness, or dizziness. The ILR is best used in patients who experience these serious symptoms regularly but not often enough to be captured by a 24-hour or 30-day external monitor.
Because of the two-year battery life of the ILR, patients will experience extended and constant monitoring. This gives the physician ample opportunity to capture any abnormal heart rhythm.
The ILR has the ability to record the electrical activity of the heart in two ways.
Your doctor will set a range of expected heart rhythms, and if the heart rate drops below the lowest value set by your doctor, the ILR will automatically start to record. In the same way, if the heart rate rises over the highest value set, the ILR will also record without the patient’s knowledge.
The second way it records is through a patient activator whereby you can trigger a recording by pushing a button on the activator. The activator can be used when you experience symptoms such as skipped beats, light-headedness, or dizziness. To start a recording, simply place the patient activator over the ILR and press the button. A green light will flash when recording is successful.
The recording is stored in the ILR. Your physician can view both the automatic and triggered events during a routine office visit using a special programmer.
After the Procedure
What to Expect After the Procedure
- No wires are inserted into the heart
- The incision is closed with steri-strips or a skin glue
- Patients can go home the same day of the procedure with almost no restrictions
- The ILR is completely safe under the skin