Loop Monitor

What is it?

Loop

A loop monitor is used to evaluate the heart rhythm during infrequent transient symptoms.

The heart normally contracts regularly due to an orderly spread of electrical activity from an area of specialized heart cells called "pacemaker cells" to the rest of the heart. An electrocardiogram (ECG) represents a surface mapping of the electrical activity of the heart.

There is a normal pattern of changes in the electrical activity of the heart with activities such as exercise. Normal variations in electrical activity occur with various activities. With different types of heart disease, there will be various other patterns of changes in the electrical activity of the heart during normal daily activity. The resulting changes in the rate and shape of the surface mapping of the electrical activity during normal daily activity are continuously monitored by the loop monitor.

Reason for Test

  • Documents and describes abnormal electrical activity in the heart during daily activities to help doctors determine the condition of the heart.
  • Helps determine the cause of symptoms like palpitations, heart racing, fatigue & weakness, dizziness, chest pains, shortness of breath and blackouts. It is also used to exclude a heart rhythm cause of strokes.
  • Helps determine the best possible treatments.

How should I prepare for it?

You should wear loose comfortable clothing so that the monitor can be worn easily under your clothes.

Do not apply any body lotion or oil to your skin before the appointment, as this makes it difficult to attach the electrodes.

Bring a list of all present medication.

What will happen during the test?

Prior to the test, you will be asked to sign a consent form. Please read it carefully and if you have any questions, ask the technologist. He or she can explain the procedure before it begins.

Several electrode pads will be placed on your chest to obtain an ECG. Men may need to have small areas of their chest shaved. These electrode pads will be connected to an ECG monitor to record a resting electrocardiograph and then removed. The loop monitor has two small wires which are attached to electrodes placed on your chest. The monitor (recording device) is about the size of a pager, lightweight and battery operated and can be worn on your belt or kept in your pocket.

The technologist will begin the monitoring and ensure that the electrodes and monitor are working properly. You will receive a booklet to write down any symptoms you have during the monitoring period.

Perform your usual activities while wearing the monitor. Upon activation, either manually by you, or automatically, the cardiac event is stored in memory. The accuracy and usefulness of this test depend on how carefully you record your activities, the symptoms and the times they occurred. If you experience any symptoms of heart problems, such as dizziness, fainting, chest pain, or irregular heart beat, press the "record" button on the monitor and write down the exact time and duration of the symptom in the booklet. The monitor is continuously monitoring your heart rhythm but only stores the rhythm when you press the record button.

The maximum number of events which can be kept in recorder's memory is four. You must send the stored data over the telephone, using the Auto Attendant feature which is available 24 hours a day. You have the option of sending the stored data either, after each single captured event, or when the recorder's memory is full. Once the captured events are transmitted or downloaded, the recorder's memory is cleared, and ready to store additional events.

When sleeping, try to stay on your back with the monitor carefully positioned at your side or on the night table next to your bed so the electrodes are not pulled off.

The recording device must not get wet. Prior to bathing, showering or swimming, remove the recorder and electrodes, and then reconnect using spare electrodes supplied by the technologist. Do not use an electric blanket, electric shaver, a heating device for a waterbed or have an x-ray done while wearing the monitor. Signals from these types of electronic devices can sometimes interfere with the recording.

If one of the electrodes or lead wires comes loose, press on the centre of each electrode to see if you can restore the contact. If one of the electrodes comes off and you have difficulty replacing it, call 519-624-3511 for assistance.

You will need to wear the loop monitor for fourteen days and the technologist will give you a return date and time to have the data on the monitor analyzed. You will be given replacement electrodes so you can take the machine off and put it back on your self. You will be trained to do this the first time you come in to have the machine hooked up.

A written report will be sent to your physician upon completion of analysis of the test. Your physician will then explain the test results to you.

Answers to common questions

How long will the test last? The first portion of the test lasts approximately 30 minutes. You can then leave, but you must return at the designated date and time to have the data on the loop monitor downloaded and analyzed.

Will I experience anything from the test? The electrode sites may itch slightly while wearing the monitor. The recording unit is very lightweight and can be worn on the belt or carried in your pocket comfortably.

Is there a cost to me for the test? No. If you have OHIP coverage, as long as the test is ordered for a medical condition, there is no charge to you for the test. Sometimes the test is ordered for an insurance assessment or ministry of transportation request etc., under such circumstances, there may be a charge to you or your insurance company for the test since it was not ordered for a medical indication by your doctor.

How do I remove the adhesive residue from the skin on my chest? Use baby oil to remove the adhesive residue from the skin on your chest. DO NOT use perfumed items or products containing alcohol since this may result in severe skin irritation.

Download a Loop Monitor Diary

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