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What is an ILR?
An implantable loop recorder (ILR) is a small device that is implanted under the skin and is used to record the electrical activity of your heart. The ILR can help identify the causes of fainting (syncope), recurrent palpations, lightheadedness or dizziness. Certain abnormal heart beats called arrhythmias can cause these conditions.
Arrhythmias are heart rhythm problems — they occur when the electrical impulses in your heart don’t work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.
Arrhythmias are often harmless. Most people have occasional, irregular heartbeats that may feel like a fluttering or a skipped beat. However, some arrhythmias may cause bothersome and sometimes even life-threatening symptoms. Your doctor will assess your symptoms and attempt to capture an arrhythmia with the Implantable Loop Recorder (ILR) to accurately diagnose the rhythm problem.
How is it placed?
An implantable loop recorder is inserted under the skin below the collar bone (usually on the patient’s left side). The procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes, and can be performed as an outpatient. Local anesthetic is injected into the area. A small incision is made and the device is inserted. The skin is then sutured closed. The device continuously records heart activity similar to an ECG for up to 2 years and automatically keeps a record of the rhythm when the heart rate goes too slow or too fast. Additionally, the patient can tell it to record with a small remote activator if they have symptoms of syncope, recurrent palpations, lightheadedness or dizziness. Once your symptoms are captured or if the battery runs out, the monitor can easily be removed.
Before the procedure
Should I take my medications? Prior to the procedure, your doctor will discuss what medications to continue taking or what medications to stop.
Can I eat before the procedure? You will not be able to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure. If you must take medications, you will be instructed to take them with a very small sip of water. When brushing your teeth, do not swallow any water.
Where does the procedure take place? You will be instructed on what time to arrive and where to arrive the day of your procedure. You can call the office at (408) 879-5900 if you have any questions.
You will be given discharge and follow-up instructions prior to leaving the hospital. You may be given light sedation for the procedure, so you will need someone to drive you home.
You will also be given an activator to record your heart rhythm with the implantable loop recorder. If you experience symptoms of syncope, palpitations, lightheadedness, dizziness or chest pain, you will activate the monitor and your heart rhythm will be recorded. We ask that you contact our office after you have activated the recorder so we can get you scheduled for an appointment. At this appointment, we will review the episode and determine if any abnormal heart rhythms were found and if further therapy is needed.