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Implantable loop recorder (ECG recorder)

An implantable loop recorder is a small device placed in your chest to monitor your heart health for up to three years

Man suffering with chest pain is in need of an implantable loop recorder (ECG recorder) to help with his diagnosis
An implantable loop recorder is a device to measure your heart's activity. It is also known as an implantable ECG recorder. It is a small, rectangular-shaped device, about the size of a small packet of chewing gum. The device works as an electrocardiogram (ECG), which monitors your heart's rhythm and electrical activity. The findings of an ECG can help us to understand how your heart is working and whether you have any problems. 

Your heart's electrical system

Your heart pumps blood around your body with every beat, sending the necessary oxygen and nutrients to the right parts of your body to keep you alive. To pump your blood properly, your heart relies on a network of cells, often referred to as the heart's electrical system. An implantable loop recorder can detect the signals produced by your heart each time it beats to monitor the rhythm of your heart.

Your implantable loop recorder with Circle Health Group

At Circle Health Group, we have a large network of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals, including cardiologist consultants and physiologists, who can help you to take control of your heart health. If you have been told you need an ECG recorder, or would like someone to diagnose your heart condition and monitor your heart health, call us or book an appointment with a consultant online.

The cost of an implantable loop recorder depends on a variety of factors, including where you have the procedure and the consultant that performs it.

If you have a course of treatment with Circle Health Group, we usually offer a fixed-price package. We will let you know ahead of time exactly how much your treatment will cost, and the price will include follow-up appointments. However, the cost of your initial consultation and any diagnostic tests will be charged separately. 

If you are paying for your own treatment, you can take advantage of our flexible payment options, which allow you to spread the cost of treatment over a period of up to five years.

If you have private health insurance, an implantable loop recorder will usually be covered by your policy. We work with all major providers of private medical insurance.

The device takes a recording of your heart every time it detects an abnormal heart rhythm, for example if your heart is beating too quickly or slowly. The device cannot regulate your heart rate or provide treatment options, but it can help your consultant and physiologist understand more about your heart health.

Your consultant will be able to access these electronic recordings of your heart remotely in order to monitor your heartbeat as you perform your everyday activities. You will most likely be given an electronic transmitter to take home. This sends the results automatically to your healthcare team. You will discuss these recordings with your consultant at routine checkups. If you do need treatment for your heart, your consultant will arrange this for you.

The device can stay in your chest for up to three years.

Your consultant might recommend an implantable loop recorder if you have:

  • An unexplained stroke
  • Unexplained fainting spells
  • Unexplained dizziness
  • An abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)

An implantable loop recorder can gather information that a standard ECG can't, because a standard ECG can only record your heartbeat for a few seconds or minutes. An implantable loop recorder monitors your heartbeat for up to three years, so it's more likely to capture the activity of your heart when you experience symptoms such as dizziness or fainting.

The fitting is a minimally invasive and relatively simple procedure, taking around fifteen minutes for your consultant to perform.

Before this starts, you will be given an injection of local anaesthetic to numb your chest, meaning you will be awake during the fitting but you won't feel anything. You will be able to ask your consultant questions throughout the fitting, if needed.

Your consultant will begin by making a small incision into the skin on the left side of your chest. They will then implant the loop recorder in this area just under your skin. The incision will then be closed with either medical glue or stitches. 

The fitting is minimally invasive, meaning you don't have to do much to prepare for it. You will be able to eat and drink as normal before having the implantable loop recorder fitted, and you will be able to take any medication as normal.

You will usually be able to return home from hospital on the same day as having the implantable loop recorder fitted. You might have some tenderness and discomfort across your chest where your consultant fitted the device, but this will subside within a week after the procedure.

You should be able to return to your everyday activities within days, unless advised otherwise by your consultant. They will ensure you have all the information you need to know about living with an implantable loop recorder, although the device should not interfere with your everyday life.

As with any procedure, there are some risks associated with having an implantable loop recorder fitted. These include infection and bleeding, but are very rare.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book an appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in July 2022. Next review due July 2025.

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