Electrophysiology studies (EPS) are tests that help doctors determine the nature of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). An electrophysiology study is performed in the electrophysiology laboratory with sedation. Large IVs are placed in the groin to allow access with catheters to the heart. The catheters are used to sense the heartbeat and stimulate beats in order to diagnose arrhythmia. An electrophysiology study is generally completed with the intent to also perform ablation of any abnormal circuits that can be targeted at the same time. Read more about heart ablation. After the procedure, the patient completes bedrest and monitoring before going home.
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Why do people have electrophysiology studies?
When someone’s heart doesn’t beat normally, doctors use electrophysiology studies (EPS) to find out why. Electrical signals travel through the heart in a regular pattern. Heart attacks, aging, and high blood pressure can cause scarring of the heart. This scarring can cause the heart to beat in an irregular pattern. Extra abnormal electrical pathways found in certain congenital heart defects can also cause arrhythmias.
EPS involves doctors inserting a catheter into a blood vessel that leads to your heart. A specialized electrode catheter designed for EP studies lets them send electrical signals to your heart and record its electrical activity.
Doctors use EPS to see:
- Where an arrhythmia is coming from.
- How well medicines and procedures work to treat the arrhythmia.
- If you are at risk for heart problems such as fainting or sudden cardiac death due to cardiac arrest.
Learn more about the EP Procedure.
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