Electrophysiology Evaluation (EP Study)
An EP Study is an in-depth evaluation of the heart's electrical system: How the heart generates and conducts electrical impulses. This type of test is often used to diagnose complex abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or when treatment for an arrhythmia is unsuccessful.
A doctor who is specially trained in electrophysiology conducts this test in a hospital setting, assisted by specially trained nursing and technical staff, with sophisticated monitoring of the ECG, blood pressure and blood oxygen. Mild sedation is given; special catheters are inserted into blood vessels in the groin, arm or neck area, and advanced to the heart using xray guidance.
A catheter is used to stimulate the heart in specific areas to see if arrhythmias can be produced. This helps the doctor understand what is causing the arrhythmia, and helps determine the most appropriate treatment.
Sometimes an ablation is performed at the time of the EP Study. In this case, the doctor tries to destroy the tiny area of heart tissue that is producing or sustaining the arrhthmia. This is done by delivering electrical (or cold) energy to the problem area through one of the catheters.
The length of time varies from procedure to procedure, and can sometimes take 4 hours or more to perform. The patient may be kept overnight. If the patient is released on the day of the procedure, they must be accompanied by someone to drive them home.
A special preparation is required for this test, which is given by the doctor (or his assistant) when the procedure is scheduled.
We hope this has been helpful, but should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to call our office at (203)265-9831 and tell the operator that you need information about our electrophysiology program.