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  • Cardiovascular Group and Northside Hospital are pleased to announce the signing of a Practice Services Agreement, signifying a major leap forward in cardiovascular patient care and clinical leadership in the Atlanta region.

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    Implantable Loop Recorder

    Why Get An Implantable Loop Recorder


    An implantable loop recorder, also known as a cardiac event recorder, is a type of heart monitoring device that is implanted under the skin of your chest during a minor surgery. This device records your heart rhythm continuously for up to three years and allows your doctor to monitor your heartbeat as you go about your daily activities.

    A loop recorder implantation is a helpful tool when searching for causes of fainting, heart palpitations, abnormal heartbeats, and other heart problems. The device acts as an electrocardiogram (ECG) by monitoring the electrical signal from your heart. This type of event monitor can pick up things that a regular ECG may miss, as those only monitor your heartbeat for a few minutes, while a loop recorder implantation works for much longer and will be able to record any symptoms whenever they occur.


    Who Should Get Tested

    You should test your heart with a loop recorder if you frequently lose consciousness, as this can determine the cause of your fainting spells, or if you are at high risk of stroke. This is also an option if other tests have not given any answers as to the cause of your heart issues.

    Loop recorders can also be helpful for older people who experience unexplained falls. Doctors may also use the device for people they believe to have epilepsy who have not responded to medicine. In these cases, a cardiac event recorder can help your doctor determine if these issues are due to an abnormal heart rhythm.


    How To Prepare

    Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. You may be asked to avoid drinking or eating anything the night before you receive your loop recorder. Your doctor may also prescribe you certain medications to take before receiving the procedure, and if you already take any medicine, do not stop taking it unless your doctor instructs you to do so. Before receiving the loop recorder implantation, your doctor may conduct a regular ECG or other tests.


    How The Test Works

    For the procedure, you will be given medicine to relax and your skin will be numbed with local anesthetic. Your doctor will then make a small incision on the upper left area of your chest where the device will be inserted. Your doctor will create a small pocket in this area to fit the device, which is about the size of a flat battery, and then place the device into the pocket. After the loop recorder is inside your skin, the incision will be closed with sutures.

    As with any other surgical procedure, the loop recorder implantation can have small risks. These risks can include slight bleeding or bruising, an infection which may require removal of the device, damage to your heart or blood vessels, and mild pain at the site of the incision. Your risks will depend on your age and other medical conditions, so discuss the potential risks of the procedure with your doctor.


    Living With The Device

    An implantable loop recorder is unnoticeable and does not interfere with your regular activities. There are no patches or wires, so you don’t have to worry about getting the device wet when showering or swimming. A loop recorder is also considered safe for use during MRI testing, though you should still let any doctors know about the device before undergoing any such tests.

    There is a chance that your device may set off metal detectors, such as those at airport security, so in these cases your doctor will provide you with a device identification card to carry with you for these situations.


    What The Results Mean

    Once the device is inserted, you’ll be given a transmitter device to place on your nightstand. This will automatically send the information the loop recorder collects to your doctor while you sleep. You can also push a button to manually send the data as soon as you experience any symptoms. Your doctor may also ask you to keep a log of any symptoms you experience and when they occur.

    Your doctor will interpret the results of the data and call you if they have any cause for concern. While the device is in place, it is recommended that you see your doctor once a year for routine checkups.


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