What is an Electrophysiology Study?
Electrophysiology study (EPS), evaluates the electrical activity of the heart to define the exact mechanism and site of the heart arrhythmia. This will help guide the physician to make further treatment option whether it be medicine, or a procedure. These studies take place in a special area in the hospital called an electrophysiology (EP) lab or catheterization (cath) lab. The patient is typically mild to moderately sedated during this procedure.
When a patient’s heart doesn’t beat in a normal fashion, Electrophysiologists use EPS to find out the reason and guide treatment options. Electrical signals usually travel through the heart in a predictable, regular pattern. Heart attacks, aging, high blood pressure and many other diseases may cause scarring of the heart. This may cause the heart to beat in an irregular pattern. Extra abnormal electrical pathways found in certain congenital heart defects can also cause arrhythmias.
During Electrophysiology studies, physicians insert thin tubes called catheters into the blood vessel that leads to the heart. A specialized electrode catheter designed for EP studies lets the physician send electrical signals to your heart to tests the heart response and record its electrical activity. During an Electrophysiology study, about 3 to 5 catheters are placed inside the heart to send and record electrical activity.
During EPS you may have abnormal heart rhythms that make you dizzy. If this happens, your doctor may give your heart an electric shock to bring back a regular heartbeat. Blood clots sometimes can form at the tip of the catheter, break off and block a blood vessel. Your doctor may give you medicine to prevent blood clots. Infection, bleeding and bruising at the site where the catheter went in (groin, arm or neck). Your doctor or nurse will help you avoid these problems.