A loop recorder is a useful device that can track the heart’s beat and rhythm over a longer period of time to EKG or even a Holter Monitor. A loop recorder works to not only record fresh data but after a certain period of time, record over prior data. This allows the loop recorder to last for as long as its battery does. While there are both external and implantable loop recorders, we will be discussing the implant as it offers long-term data without interfering with a patient’s lifestyle.
One of the benefits of a loop recorder is the continuous nature of the recording – this allows for data immediately prior to the arrhythmia to be recorded as well. This can offer excellent context to help your medical team understand more about what may have caused the arrhythmia.
Why Would You Need a Loop Recorder?
- To find the cause of fast heartbeats that only occur occasionally
- To find the cause of a slow heartbeat or bradycardia
- To find the cause of unexplained fainting
- To verify the presence and type of heart palpitations
How Is a Loop Recorder Implanted?
A loop recorder is implanted using a local anesthetic, where Dr. Tordini will make the incision. Typically, this incision is created on the left side of the chest. A small pouch is created to hold the loop recorder in place. After placement, the incision is closed with sutures and the recording begins. Before heading home, you will be trained on how to manage your loop recorder.
How Long Does the Loop Recorder Last?
A loop recorder lasts up to three years, continuously recording and re-recording the heart’s beat and rhythm. Once we have the data we need, the recorder can be disabled and eventually removed.
Is a Loop Recorder MRI-Safe?
Yes, the loop recorder is MRI-safe. However, it is important to tell your MRI technician and your other medical providers that you have a loop recorder implanted, in case it changes their treatment protocols. You will also have a device implantation card to show when necessary.