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Implantable Loop Recorder For Monitoring Heart Rhythm

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This information was reviewed and approved by Renee Mondragon, RN, Raphael Sung, MD, FACC, FHRS (7/1/2018).

What is an implantable loop recorder?

Your doctor has suggested you have a procedure to insert an implantable loop recorder. The implantable loop recorder continually records the electrical signals of your heart. It can identify abnormal heart rhythms throughout the day and night for up to 3 years. Abnormal heart rhythms may be identified with symptoms you are having. This will help you doctor identify the best treatment plan for you.


How do you get ready for the procedure?

Before the procedure, your doctor will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. They will be available to answer any questions you may have.

  • Do not eat food or drink liquids for at least 4 to 6 hours before the test.

  • Take your oral medicines with a small sip of water. You may be asked to hold certain medication.

  • Bring your blood glucose monitor, test strips and medication if you have diabetes.

  • Please arrive 60 minutes before your test is scheduled.

  • Wear clothing you can remove from the waist up. You will be given a gown to wear.


Where do I go to get this test done?

Check in at the main desk and they will direct you to the Minimally Invasive Diagnostic Center (MIDC) waiting area.


What is done during the test?

When you arrive the nurse will explain what will be done before, during and after the procedure. If you have any questions, please ask. An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand so medicine can be delivered if needed.

The nurse will connect you to several monitors:

  • Blood pressure monitor: A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm to monitor your blood pressure often throughout the test

  • Oximeter: A small clip is placed on your finger. The device monitors the oxygen level of your blood. You will be given oxygen during the procedure.

We will clean and disinfect the skin using a solution that will help prevent infections. You will have drapes placed around the insertion site and will be instructed to face in the opposite direction to prevent contamination of the prepared area. You will be given an injection of a numbing agent prior to the insertion of the device. The implantable loop recorder will be placed under the skin on the left side of your chest over your heart. You will also be given a white box to place next to your bed when you get home or have an app installed on your smartphone. This will allow you to record your heart rhythms and transmit the information to your doctor.


What should you do after the implantable loop recorder procedure?

A nurse will give you post-procedure instructions. A nurse from National Jewish Health will call you to see how you are doing about 24 hours after your procedure.


How long will the test take?

Plan on being at National Jewish Health for at least 3 to 4 hours, although sometimes people stay longer. The preparation will take about 1 hour. The recovery may take from 1 to 3 hours. Rarely, an overnight stay at a nearby facility is required.