What is a loop recorder?
A loop recorder is similar to a Holter monitor. It monitors the electrical activity of the heart as a means of diagnosing cardiovascular causes for various symptoms such as syncope, dizziness, palpitations and chest pain.
What is the difference between a Holter monitor and a loop recorder?
A Holter monitor is worn continuously for 24 to 72 hours during which time the monitor is recording and saving the electrical activity of the heart. The loop recorder or event recorder is worn for two to four weeks. It is activated by the patient to record electrical activity of the heart when symptoms are being experienced. When your loop recorder is full or close to being full, the information will be transferred to the special testing unit with the use of telephone transmission.
How do I prepare for the test?
- It is recommended that you do not apply creams, oils or powders on your chest the day that you are hooked up. This may interfere with the therapist’s ability in applying the electrodes.
- Please wear loose fitting clothing. Do not wear a dress, girdle or corset. Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment so you can be registered. Always bring your health card to any medical appointment.
- You will be able to remove this monitor to shower or bathe and reapply new electrodes yourself.
How long will the test take?
It will take approximately 30 minutes to explain the loop recorder and connect the patient with it. You will have it for a minimum of two weeks, although the doctor may decide to have you wear it for four weeks depending on the circumstances.
What should I do once the monitor is on and I go home?
We normally like you to continue with your everyday activities. You may remove the monitor and the electrodes which are attached to your skin to bathe or shower. Please don’t get the machine wet. Do not have a chest x-ray taken while wearing the monitor. It can be removed and reapplied when necessary. This is a sensitive recording device with a replacement value of $2,500.
What happens if a wire comes off?
You can simply snap the wire back on to the corresponding electrode. If the electrode gets loose or comes off, replace it with a fresh one. We’ll give you a supply to last you for the time that you have the monitor.
When should I activate my loop recorder?
You will activate your loop recorder when you are experiencing the symptoms which you told your doctor about. The machine is programmed to save a minute of electrical activity of your heart with each activation. It has the capacity to hold five such episodes for a total of five minutes. If your symptoms are fleeting, don’t worry. The machine retrieves 45 seconds of electrical activity of your heart before the symptom started. This enables the doctor to see what your heart was doing leading up to your symptom. As well, it will save 15 seconds of what your heart is doing during your symptom.
You will be asked to make a note of your symptom each time you activate the machine. This helps the doctor to know how you are feeling when you had your symptom.
Why should I have my loop recorder at GRH?
There are many reasons why, but the important ones are:
- Our local heart doctors will be interpreting your results;
- All monies received for this test are kept in this community;
- Only specially trained therapists will be scanning your results, not just a computer;
- We have been in this field for over 15 years; and
- If we are particularly worried about what we find, your doctor and/or one of our local heart doctors will be called to review our finding right away.
How fast will the results be reviewed?
Within 48 hours of returning the monitor, one of our specially trained therapist will review your EKG and then a heart doctor will dictate the results.