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 that 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 two 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. The monitor can easily be removed once your symptoms are
captured or if the battery runs out.
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.