What Is An Implantable Loop Monitor?
An implantable loop monitor is, as it sounds, a “paper clip-sized” device that can be implanted just underneath the skin, left of the breastbone. This device can serve as a literal continuous ECG-recording machine, recording a patient’s heart rhythm for up to 3 years. The biggest advantage of this system is for patients who have symptoms that are not that frequent—that is, patients who may present with syncope once every several months or even yearly, in which case short-term external monitors have limited utility.In addition, the issue of patient compliance in tolerating bulky external monitors is eliminated. These small devices are contained in a metal alloy casing with an internal battery and microchips for recording and storage of the tracings of your heart rhythm
VIDEO: How an implantable loop monitor is implanted
Living With My Device
No special care is needed after the wound site has healed weeks later. An identification card will be sent to your home, akin to a license, with your name, your physician’s name, and the model and make of your implantable loop monitor listed for you to keep close to you. This is beneficial and necessary when you are traveling by plane and need to go through metal detectors; these devices are only recording devices and do not emit any signals and are safe for travel and transit through metal detectors. Other times, you will need to have this card and information handy if you present to an Emergency Department with a clinical episode of syncope, dizziness, or palpitations, so the hospital physicians can have your device checked for any recorded abnormal heart rhythms. No special precautions are needed during daily activity with microwaves, wireless phones, antitheft detectors at stores, or handheld digital devices.
When To Remove The Monitor?
The typical battery for an implantable loop monitor can continue to record your heart rhythm for up to 2 to 3 years. It is advisable to keep the device in place until your clinical symptoms have recurred frequently enough to allow for adequate correlation with the device’s recordings of your heart rhythm. If you have a clinical event and the implantable loop monitor records a heart rhythm disturbance, you may be recommended for further testing or therapeutic procedures. This can include a possible recommendation for a permanent pacemaker implant, possibly an implantable cardiac defibrillator, or sometimes a diagnostic electric study of your heart followed by a therapeutic procedure in an attempt to cure you of any recurrent abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, abnormal heart rhythms that have implications for risk of stroke, such as atrial fibrillation, can also be detected; if so, institution of blood thinning anticoagulation medication to mitigate and reduce that risk may be a possible outcome. Finally, once adequate clinical information has been gleaned, your device can be removed at any time with a similar procedure as performed at the time of implantation.
Please feel free to download the pdf file below for further information regarding implantable loop monitors.