If you are having symptoms of a heart rhythm problem, your physician may recommend a heart monitor to track your heart's rhythm so as to detect any areas of concern. Most often, those in need of cardiac monitoring will use a Holter monitor, which is a portable device that is worn externally and records your heart's rhythm and rate for a 24-72 hour period.
However, sometimes symptoms are infrequent and require monitoring for a much longer period of time to catch abnormal heart activity. In these cases, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano offers an implantable loop recorder (ILR) that can monitor your heart remotely for an extended period of time — and even, in some cases, connect to your smartphone.
The ILR is less than two inches long and very thin, allowing it to be implanted under the skin on the chest. The actual implantation takes around 10 minutes and does not require a hospital stay.
"It's a fairly noninvasive procedure," said Adam Shapira, MD, medical director of electrophysiology services at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano. "The monitor is inserted underneath the skin using a small nick on the chest wall."
Once implanted, the ILR continuously records data about the heart's rhythm and sends it remotely and securely to your physician. The batteries are designed to last up to three years.
ILRs are recommended for those who need long-term monitoring beyond what can be accomplished using an external, wearable heart monitor. An ILR may be an option for:
"For someone who has symptoms of an arrhythmia that have eluded a diagnosis, there are longer-term options available that integrate the most recent technology," Dr. Shapira said.
As ILR technology advances, new features are being added to make monitoring more connected and convenient for patients. Some of the newer devices on the market can connect to your smartphone, allowing you to record symptoms and view your tracking history through an app.
These devices provide continuous, real-time reporting to your physician. Because they can connect via Bluetooth® to your phone, there is no need to manually send data or use additional transmission equipment.
Find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmias at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano or Baylor Scott & White Health.