An implantable loop recorder (ILR) monitors the heart for a sustained period of time and records your heart rhythm continuously for up to two years. It is predominantly used for patients who suffer fainting spells or infrequent palpitations as other monitoring, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or ECG Holter, do not last long enough to capture the necessary data for diagnosis. They are also used for patients who have had a stroke to determine if this is due to atrial fibrillation and to help prescribe the correct medication.
The ILR is a very small device, no larger than a standard USB memory stick, which is inserted under the skin of the chest in a procedure carried out under local anesthetic. Patients will normally return home the same day. Occasionally bruising and discomfort in the area of the ILR may occur but this oftens settles after a short period.
Once the necessary data has been obtained the ILR is then removed under local anaesthetic.