Loop Recorder Pros and Cons

A loop recorder is also known as an Insertable Cardiac Monitor or Implantable Loop Recorder. You may need the device to monitor abnormal heart rhythm, also called Arrhythmias. There are plenty of loop recorder pros and cons to consider and lots of asking and consultation. If you or your family member just got advised to get an ILR, you need to know the health benefits of a loop recorder and the possible risks.

According to American Heart Association, Chronic Heart Disease was responsible for 42% of fatalities in the United States in 1997. Furthermore, the number of survivors of acute cardiac attacks has risen over time, and it has increased by 20 years since then.

What is Loop Recorder for the Heart?

A heart loop recorder is used for some abnormal heart rhythms (Arrhythmias) that are difficult to diagnose. Symptoms include palpitations, chest pain, breathing problems, or fainting. With this implant, you will record your symptoms onto the device, which can then calculate an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

A heart pacemaker is a small battery-operated device that is implanted in your chest. The tiny gadget is placed beneath the skin of your chest wall, overlying the heart, by your heart doctor (cardiologist). The device is capable of diagnosing heart abnormalities.

It functions as an electrocardiogram (ECG). Anything abnormal in the electrical signals from your heart is recorded. This can assist in identifying cardiac rhythms that might cause problems such as fainting.

What are Loop Recorder Pros?

The pros of loop recorder implants are that they are small, lightweight, and easy to wear under or on top of clothing. These implants are so tiny that no one can know you have one attached to you. There are other benefits of ILR devices detailed in brief below.

1. Lightweight

ILR is small, lightweight, and easy to wear under or on top of clothing, so anyone can barely notice whether you have it or not. Also, the cardiac device is easily implanted by a cardiologist to avoid any pain or discomfort.

2. ILR Device gets you the exact report

It has advantages like recording the location where cardiac events happened, the duration of an episode, the time between episodes, etc. All information needed for a diagnosis is right in front of you.

3. No Medication Side Effects

The main benefit of Loop Recorder is there are no side effects or medical interaction whatsoever. Since the electronic device is inserted just beneath your skin layer, it works physically, and there are no chemicals involved during its use.

4. No hospital stay is necessary

You’ll have to undergo a minor procedure to have an ILR inserted in your chest. Your cardiologist can perform it within minutes, and you don’t have to stay sedated for a longer period. This means you don’t have to stay at the hospital for a couple of hours.

5. Recorded data used for diagnosis

One more benefit of ILRs is that they record all electrical activity, providing almost immediate feedback. In addition, no electrodes have to be attached, just a wire with a small disc that must be placed under your clothes against your chest. The live data can help doctors to deduce the current and future conditions of your heart which is one of the main Loop Recorder pros.

6. Cost is one of the noteworthy Loop Recorder Pros

The loop recorder device costs about $100-$200 depending on insurance coverage for it. Compared to possible damage heart surgery might cause and other risks, this type of testing is inexpensive. Some people self-diagnose themselves with arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation because they read online that many symptoms match their own and use this device to verify. Also, ILRs are the least expensive compared to other ECG methods such as Pacemaker.

Some Loop Recorder Cons to Consider

A loop recorder implant can be very beneficial for some patients. However, you must take precautions to ensure you don't get injured due to the device. In addition, note the following loop recorder cons beforehand and consult your cardiologist for further assistance.

1. Faulty or negative results

The main drawback of the loop recorder implant is that false negative or positive results can occur. This leads to either unnecessary treatment or insufficient data. In addition, a cardiologist may not be able to gather information about actual symptoms, leading to misdiagnosis, which could delay proper treatment.

2. You can't shower or swim having an ILR

Another limitation of ILRs is that you cannot swim or shower while wearing it because water can damage it leading it to malfunction.

3. Possible Infection Risks are rare Loop Recorder Cons

Infection can emanate at the implantation site, where wires are inserted through your skin. If you are experiencing bleeding or bruising around the insertion site, you need to report it immediately to the cardiologist.

A possible solution to this issue is disinfecting the site can help ward off this problem, but it is always better to prevent infection than treat it.

4. Discomfort can be a rare Loop recorder cons

Some patients have complained of being uncomfortable with the loop recorder implant. A common downside of the loop recorder implant is discomfort during physical activities such as jogging and biking. But those who experience discomfort even when not active should speak to their doctor about other possibilities.

5. Risk of bleeding or bruising after the procedure

Just like any surgery or medical procedure, there is a risk that you could develop an infection due to blood loss during the operation. If your body does not coagulate blood properly and the flow continues, you could be at risk for serious problems if it enters your skin and bloodstream.

6. Discomfort while undergoing X-rays

This device is metallic; it can interfere with your X-ray results. If you are scheduled for an X-ray procedure, you will likely need to have a lead shield placed over the area where the loop recorder implant was inserted to get the desired results.

7. ILR works for up to 3 years

It is programmed to retain recordings automatically and has built-in triggers to save recordings. An implantable loop recorder, like an ECG, continuously records information about your electrical activity. But it can work properly for up to three years maximum.


The Loop recorder is a great device for people with heart problems, but it does have some limitations. As a result, it's not the right choice for everyone and may not be as effective in severe cases of Arrhythmia. Nevertheless, It's an important option to consider because many positives come with using the ILR, such as improved quality of life and decreased hospitalization rates.

Loop Recorder Pros and Cons

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Loop Recorder Safe?

The Loop recorder device is safe as it does not require any surgery or medication or involve radiation exposure. Therefore, the risks that come with this procedure are rare.

Who should get a loop recorder for the heart?

If you have unexplained symptoms like palpitations, chest pain, breathing problems, or fainting, it is worth getting tested by wearing a loop recorder for the heart.

What are the side effects of a loop recorder?

1. Infection of incision site (where the device is placed).
2. Bleeding or fluid accumulation in the space around the lungs (pleural effusion).
3. Injury to blood vessels and nerves near where the device was inserted.
4. Device coming loose, slipping out of place, or causing an electrical problem with the heart.
5. Expulsion of a wire leading to the device.

Are loop recorders safe?

It's quite safe to get a loop recorder implanted. The site of insertion is sometimes contaminated. However, because an implantable loop recorder, unlike a pacemaker, does not have wires directly into the heart, there is no risk of infection from that perspective.

Can a loop recorder damage your heart?

Device Patients: Implantable Loop Recorders: These gadgets do not influence the heart's rhythm or function. They just keep track of things. The most severe consequence of any type of disruption is that the device may record signals that aren't produced by the heart.

Is a loop recorder uncomfortable?

You may experience discomfort at the implant site for the first 48-72 hours after surgery. The doctor or nurse will advise you on pain medication if needed.

Can a loop recorder detect a stroke?

If left undiagnosed and untreated, it has been shown to develop in 10% of patients with cryptogenic stroke after one year. The rate of asymptomatic atrial fibrillation detection in cryptogenic stroke through implanted cardiac monitoring is low.

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