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Implantable loop recorder (ILR) - Pre-procedure information

Patient information A-Z

Implantable Loop Recorder in the palm of a hand (ILR) - Pre-procedure information image

What is an ILR?

An ILR (sometimes known as a Linq) is a small heart monitor that is inserted just under the skin at the front of the chest to record heart rhythms.

Why do I need an ILR?

An ILR is useful in determining whether symptoms such as palpitation, fainting, dizzy spells or stroke are due to intermittent disturbance of heart rhythm. It is purely a diagnostic tool, not a treatment.

What to expect on the day

When you arrive you will be shown to a bed space and will be asked to change into a hospital gown. We will record your vital signs, complete a pre-procedure checklist with you and may need to shave your chest. Your consent form will be completed with the implanting clinician. The procedure will take place in the cath lab which is a small theatre further down the ward.

How is the device implanted?

The procedure is carried out in a small theatre which is often cold. The skin is numbed using local anaesthetic. Once the skin is numbed it should not be painful. However, you may feel pushing or pressure on your chest at times during the procedure. A small incision is made (5mm wide) to the left of the breast bone. The device is injected under the skin and the wound closed with surgical glue. The procedure usually takes around 20 minutes.

There is a short video of how the procedure is performed below if you wish to know more.

Explain my procedure - Implantable loop recorder


How will I prepare for the procedure?

You will need to be nil by mouth for two hours prior to your appointment time.

What are the benefits of having an ILR?

Heart rhythm disturbances may be intermittent. External heart monitors can be worn for a relatively short period of time, so are less effective at detecting infrequent rhythm abnormalities. ILRs are designed to stay in for up to three years if necessary.

What are the risks involved?

The procedure is usually very safe and is performed regularly in this hospital. There is a small risk of bleeding, bruising or infection to the wound site. Any risks involved will be discussed during the consent process.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Once the ILR is implanted you will be taken back to the ward area. Your blood pressure, heart rate and wound site will be checked regularly. You will be able to eat and drink straight away and will usually be able to leave after one to two hours.

When can I resume normal activities?

You will normally be able to go home the same day. You will be given advice on how to care for your wound and what to do if you have concerns. You will be given an advice leaflet to take home with you.

How will I be followed up?

A cardiac physiologist will explain how your device will be remotely followed up. There is a QR code which you can scan to download the My Carelink Heart mobile app if you have a compatible phone.

When device information is analysed results will be sent to your hospital doctor and you will also receive a letter. Unless you have been referred by a cardiologist, you won’t necessarily be seen by one.


How to find ward K2

Map of Addenbrooke's hospital showing the location of ward K2

Contacts / further information

Ward K2 – 01223 256233

Monday to Friday 07:30 (7:30am) until 17:30 (5:30pm)

Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and / or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151