What is a loop monitor?
A loop monitor is a small external device that continuously records the electrical activity of a patient’s heart. The monitor is quite small and is about the size of a pager. The monitor can be placed in a patient’s pocket or attached to one’s belt. The monitor has two small, soft wires which attach to adhesive electrodes placed over the patient’s chest. These wires are very thin and be worn comfortably under one’s shirt so no one will be aware that the patient is wearing it. The monitor is battery operated and can be worn for up to 30 days. The monitor is continuously monitoring the patient’s heart rhythm but only stores the rhythm when the patient experiences a symptom and presses the record button on the monitor. The recorded tracing is then sent to our office over the telephone. The nursing staff will provide instructions on how to do this at the time the loop monitor is given to the patient.
Why is a loop monitor ordered?
A loop monitor allows your cardiologists to review tracings of a patient’s heart rhythm during periods of reported symptoms such as palpitations. This allows the cardiologist to determine if this symptoms were the result of an abnormal heart rhythm. Since a loop monitor can be worn for as long as 30 days, it is ideal for the evaluation of patient’s symptoms that occur infrequently such as once every few weeks. For those patients who experience symptoms daily, then a simple 24 hour holter monitor could be ordered instead.
How is a loop monitor placed and how is it returned?
A loop monitor is placed by a nurse in our office. The nurse will explain how to use the monitor and what to do if the wires or electrodes become unattached. The monitor and the patient’s journal are returned to our office by the patient at the end of the period of time prescribed by the doctor.
Are there any restrictions while wearing a loop monitor?
We encourage patients to resume their previous activities including exercise while wearing the loop monitor. We simply ask that the monitor be kept dry.
Are there any complications with a loop monitor?
The only potential complication with a loop monitor is skin irritation from the adhesive electrode. We have special electrodes for patients with sensitive skin to minimize this risk.