Dr Simon Kennon MB ChB, FRCP, MD Consultant Cardiologist

Implantable Loop Recorder

A Reveal is a small device the size and shape of a rectangular cigarette lighter or small pacemaker which records your heart rate. It is implanted under the skin where it remains long term and can help doctors determine whether or not a patient's symptoms are due to significant changes in the heart rate and rhythm.

Positioning

Positioning a Reveal device is a day case procedure. It is implanted just on the front of the chest. It only takes about 30 to 40 minutes requiring only a local anaesthetic.

Suitability

If a patient has very troublesome but infrequent symptoms, for example feeling faint, severe palpitations or loss of consciousness, it is highly likely that short-term monitoring will fail to pick up the underlying abnormality. In these circumstances it may be appropriate to use an implantable loop recorder (ILR) such as the Reveal device.

How does it work?

The Reveal device continuously monitors the heartbeat and ECG for the lifetime of the battery, which is approximately three years in the latest models.

Sudden changes in heart rate are automatically recorded by the device and can be subsequently downloaded using a programmer, which looks like a laptop computer.

The patient, or a family member or friend, can also activate the device to store information on the heart beat at the time of symptoms or upon recovery, whichever is most practical.

In the latter case, a small box with a button is placed on the surface of the skin over the Reveal device. The device may then be activated by pressing the button, causing it to record the heart activity for a set period of time before, during and immediately after the activation.