Information & Advice for Arrhythmia Patients
Implantable cardiac monitor (ICM)
Miniature Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) System
If a doctor is unable to diagnose the cause of your symptoms with simple recording methods such as an EKG or a 24-hour monitor, they may consider an implantable cardiac monitor (ICM).
Traditionally doctors would have implanted an insertable loop recorder (ILR) (which is the size of a USB stick) under the skin on the left side of a patient’s chest in order to capture a recording of the heart rate and rhythm at the time of an episode.
The device records on a continuous loop for up to three years. If you experience palpitations or breathlessness, a separate device would be used to freeze the recording and document the episode which would then be assessed by a heart rhythm specialist.
The miniature insertable cardiac monitor (ICM system)
The ICM is a diagnostic tool that will monitor the heart’s electrical activity and help a heart rhythm specialist identify the cause of your symptoms. This device offers the same benefits as a traditional ILR but is a tenth of the size. Virtually invisible to the naked eye, it is more comfortable and much less noticeable under the skin.
How is the ICM fitted?
As this miniature monitor is so much smaller and easier to implant, it is intended that the procedure could be performed in a treatment room rather than a theater setting. Implant of the device requires an incision of less than 1cm which can then be closed very simply with medical adhesive, steri strips or one suture. It is anticipated the procedure will take about ten minutes.
Hopefully this will reduce the waiting lists for this diagnostic device to be fitted and in some cases the procedure could be undertaken when you first attend the clinic, saving delay in reaching a diagnosis and the inconvenience of repeat visits.
How is an episode captured?
There would be no need to use a separate device to record an episode as the ICM is remotely monitored, wirelessly, through a receiver in your house. Any unusual heart activity will be transmitted via a 3G signal to a secure system which will alert the heart rhythm specialist. You would then be contacted if necessary. Inevitably this will provide more peace of mind for a patient.
Removal of the ICM
Once the reason for your heart rhythm problems has been identified through this monitor the device can be removed with another simple procedure.