Surgery: What to Expect – Implanting the Insertable Cardiac Monitor

The Procedure

Implanting an insertable cardiac monitor typically involves a simple procedure. Smaller than a pack of gum, the cardiac monitor is inserted just beneath the skin in the chest area. During the brief procedure, the area is numbed with local anaesthesia, a small incision is made, and the monitor is inserted. You will be awake and able to communicate with the nurse or doctor.

An insertable cardiac monitor is inserted just beneath the skin in the upper chest area

Detail - An insertable cardiac monitor is inserted just beneath the skin in the chest area

After the Procedure

At first there may be some minor discomfort near the incision site. Your doctor or nurse will give you instructions about at-home care following your implant. These may include advice about lifting, checking the incision site, activity levels in the first few weeks, and how to use the hand-held patient activator device.

In general, people who get an insertable cardiac monitor can perform almost all their normal activities. You’ll be able to swim, bathe, and exercise with your cardiac monitor without fear of harming it.

After the cardiac monitor is implanted, your doctor may schedule periodic office or clinic visits. During an office visit, the doctor or nurse will download information about your heart rhythms that is stored in your cardiac monitor. You won’t feel anything while this is occurring.

When heart activity is recorded by the insertable cardiac monitor during a fainting spell, your doctor will be able to “read” the signals. It will help your doctor determine whether the cause of your unexplained fainting is related to an abnormal heart rhythm.


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: 22 Sep 2010

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