Implantable Loop Recorder Placement

What is Implantable Loop Recorder Placement

Implantable loop recorder is a small electronic device that is placed under the skin of your chest. It is about the size of an AA (“double A”) battery. The device records the electrical activity of your heart over a long period of time. Your health care provider can download these recordings to monitor your heart.

You may need an implantable loop recorder if you have periods of abnormal heart activity (arrhythmias) or unexplained fainting (syncope). The recorder can be left in place for 1 year or longer.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Allergic reactions to anesthetic medicines.
  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels.
  • Failure of the device to work. This could require another surgery to replace it.

What happens before the procedure?

  • You may have a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging tests of your heart, such as a chest X-ray.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating or drinking restrictions.
  • Ask your health care provider about:
    • Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
    • Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood. Do not take these medicines unless your health care provider tells you to take them.
    • Taking over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
  • Ask your health care provider how your surgical site will be marked or identified.
  • Ask your health care provider what steps will be taken to help prevent infection. These may include:
    • Removing hair at the surgery site.
    • Washing skin with a germ-killing soap.
  • Plan to have someone take you home from the hospital or clinic.
  • Plan to have a responsible adult care for you for at least 24 hours after you leave the hospital or clinic. This is important.
  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.

What happens during the procedure?

  • An IV will be inserted into one of your veins.
  • You may be given one or more of the following:
    • A medicine to help you relax (sedative).
    • A medicine to numb the area (local anesthetic).
  • A small incision will be made on the left side of your upper chest.
  • A pocket will be created under your skin.
  • The device will be placed in the pocket.
  • The incision will be closed with stitches (sutures) or adhesive strips.
  • A bandage (dressing) will be placed over the incision.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored until you leave the hospital or clinic.
  • You may be able to go home on the day of your surgery. Before you go home:
    • Your health care provider will program your recorder.
    • You will learn how to trigger your device with a handheld activator.
    • You will learn how to send recordings to your health care provider.
    • You will get an ID card for your device, and you will be told when to use it.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours if you were given a sedative during your procedure.

Summary

  • An implantable loop recorder is a small electronic device that is placed under the skin of your chest to monitor your heart over a long period of time.
  • The recorder can be left in place for 1 year or longer.
  • Plan to have someone take you home from the hospital or clinic.

Implantable Loop Recorder Placement, Care After

This sheet gives you information about how to care for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. If you have problems or questions, contact your health care provider.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, it is common to have:

  • Soreness or discomfort near the incision.
  • Some swelling or bruising near the incision.

Follow these instructions at home:

Incision care

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of your incision. Make sure you:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before you change your bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
    • Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
    • Keep your dressing dry.
    • Leave stitches (sutures), skin glue, or adhesive strips in place. These skin closures may need to stay in place for 2 weeks or longer. If adhesive strip edges start to loosen and curl up, you may trim the loose edges. Do not remove adhesive strips completely unless your health care provider tells you to do that.
  • Check your incision area every day for signs of infection. Check for:
    • Redness, swelling, or pain.
    • Fluid or blood.
    • Warmth.
    • Pus or a bad smell.
  • Do not take baths, swim, or use a hot tub until your health care provider approves. Ask your health care provider if you can take showers.

Activity

  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours if you were given a sedative during your procedure.

General instructions

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to manage your implantable loop recorder and transmit the information. Learn how to activate a recording if this is necessary for your type of device.
  • Do not go through a metal detection gate, and do not let someone hold a metal detector over your chest. Show your ID card.
  • Do not have an MRI unless you check with your health care provider first.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have redness, swelling, or pain around your incision.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain that is not relieved by your pain medicine.
  • You have triggered your device because of fainting (syncope) or because of a heartbeat that feels like it is racing, slow, fluttering, or skipping (palpitations).

Get help right away if you have:

  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.

Summary

  • After the procedure, it is common to have soreness or discomfort near the incision.
  • Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to manage your implantable loop recorder and transmit the information.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.
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