How Much Does an Implantable Loop Recorder Cost?

Written by: Staff

An implantable loop recorder, a type of heart monitoring device, is placed underneath the skin in the chest in order to record data regarding heart events over a long duration, up to three years.

This is usually implanted as a result of multiple episodes of syncope —  a disorder where someone feels dizzy, weak and eventually passes out due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

This monitoring strategy can assist in diagnosing somebody with infrequent symptoms.  In case a patient experiences a fainting episode, this device is activated automatically in order to save the recording prior to, during, and after the occurrence of the episode.  The recordings are then analyzed by a physician so as to aid in determining the cause of fainting.

How much does an implantable loop recorder cost?

The implant, without any additional costs factors factored in, can range anywhere from $3,000 to $13,000, depending on the surgeon, your geographical location and total billing costs.  These are the prices for those who don’t have a health insurance policy.

The cost of an implantable loop recorder, as per the NIH, is $7,584 per patient.  This won’t include the costs of therapy, which follows the implantation.  Therapy was $2,452, with the total cost per diagnosis ranging from $529 to $73,260.

Implantable loop recorder overview

An implantable loop recorder is a device which is inserted beneath the skin and under the collarbone, normally on the left side of the patient.  It is recommended for patients experiencing syncope (fainting), dizziness, lightheaded, recurrent palpitations and seizures.

This device records the heart activity continuously for up to three years in a manner similar to an ECG.  The direct costs include those for the implantable loop recorder monitoring.  This comprises of the implantation, device acquisition, and removal of the implant.

The procedure of implanting the device is very simple and is often done at a local doctor’s office.  A local anesthetic has to be injected into the area, and a tiny incision is made, followed by inserting the implantable loop recorder.  The skin, after the implantation, is sutured closed.

The average patient will have to wear the device for 30 days, but some wear it for as long as two years.

The device is able to store electrocardiographic events up to 40 minutes before the activation.

The average battery can last up to 18 months.

What are the extra costs?

Aside from implantation, you also have to budget for recurring costs such as follow-up doctor visits and therapy to help confirm the diagnosis.  Your doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic, will ask to see you one to two times per year for a routine checkup.

If the test records a rhythm disturbance, then your doctor may want to recommend further testing or therapeutic procedures.  This could include an implantable cardiac defibrillator, permanent pacemaker or diagnostic electric study, for example.

Tips to know:

The implantable loop recorder is considered safe, however, risks, as with any surgery, still need to be considered.  This can include an infection at the surgical site and/or to the implantable loop device.

An implantable loop recorder is a newer form of technology, and researchers, over time, have evaluated their safety and benefits over the past 10 years.  A study has shown that these records have a higher rate of diagnosis of heart rhythm problems when compared to other monitoring devices.

How can I save money?

Talk with your health insurance provider to see what is going to be covered.  As long as medically necessary, most insurance companies will cover it as long you choose a hospital/professional in network, and you will only be responsible for your co-pay and deductible.

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Average Reported Cost: $5000

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  1. Joe (Pompano Beach,  Florida) paid $5000 and said:

    $5000 just for the implant at a hospital.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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