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Implantable Heart Monitor Placement: What to Expect at Home

Heart monitor placed under skin in chest near sternum, with detail of monitor in place.

Your Recovery

Implantable heart monitor placement is surgery to put a small heart monitor under the skin of your chest. The doctor put the monitor there to record electrical signals from your heart. The monitor looks for an irregular heartbeat. It also looks for other heart rhythm problems. It can help your doctor find out what's causing your fainting, light-headedness, or other symptoms.

Your chest may be sore where the doctor made the cut.

You should be able to go home soon after surgery. And you should be able to get back to your usual activities.

You'll need to take steps to safely use electronic devices. Some of these devices can stop your heart monitor from working right for a short time. Talk with your doctor about this. Learn what to avoid and what to keep a short distance away from your heart monitor.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?


  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • You can do your normal activities when it feels okay to do so.


  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Incision care

  • If you have strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • Wash the area daily with warm water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. They can slow healing.
  • You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it oozes fluid or rubs against clothing.
  • You may shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Pat the incision dry. Don't swim or take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.

Other instructions

  • Keep a medical ID card with you at all times that says you have a heart monitor. The card should include the manufacturer and model information.
  • Your monitor may start recording on its own when it detects an abnormal heartbeat. Or you might use a hand-held device to start the monitor when you have symptoms. Your doctor will explain which type of monitor you have and what you need to do.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You are bleeding from the incision.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You have any problems with your heart monitor.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.