What Is an Insertable Cardiac Monitor?

An insertable cardiac monitor is a small implantable device that continuously monitors heart rhythms and records them automatically or with a hand-held patient activator. The device is implanted just beneath the skin in the upper chest area during a simple procedure.

The insertable cardiac monitor is programmed to continuously monitor your heart’s activity in the form of an electrocardiogram (ECG). When a fainting spell occurs, you or your family member should immediately place a small hand-held activator over the cardiac monitor and press a button.

The button triggers the device to record the heart’s signal before, during, and after the unexplained fainting spell. The insertable cardiac monitor can also be programmed to record abnormal heart rhythms automatically.

If a heart rhythm-related cause of fainting is found, your doctor may recommend therapy based on the exact cause. If your heart rhythm can be ruled out as a cause of fainting, your doctor can focus on other potential causes of your symptoms.

The insertable cardiac monitor is the one option for determining causes of infrequent, unexplained fainting. Other types of heart monitors are attached on the outside of your body for 2 to 60 days. The insertable cardiac monitor is designed for long-term use.

Because the heart monitor is placed under the skin, you do not have to use sticky recording pads on your skin or worry about connecting any wires. Your insertable cardiac monitor can be used up to 3 years, so it increases the chance of capturing your heart signal during infrequent fainting spells.

The insertable cardiac monitor may help your doctor rule in or rule out abnormal heart rhythms as the cause of your unexplained fainting.


All surgical procedures carry some risk. Because the cardiac monitor is implanted just beneath the skin, there is a slight risk of infection, the device moving or coming through the skin, and/or sensitivity to the cardiac monitor material.

The risks of something serious happening are rare. Remember to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have or anything you don’t fully understand. Although many patients benefit from the use of this product, results may vary. Your doctor can help you decide if it’s right for you.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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