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Electrophysiology Study

An electrophysiology study, or EP study, is a test to see if there is a problem with your heartbeat (heart rhythm) and to find out how to fix it.

In this test, the doctor inserts one or more flexible tubes, called catheters, into a vein, typically in the groin or neck. Then he or she threads these catheters into the heart. At the tip of these catheters are electrodes, which are small pieces of metal that conduct electricity. The electrodes collect information about your heart's electrical activity. Your doctor can tell what kind of heart rhythm problems you have and where those problems are.

Sometimes the problem can be fixed at the same time. A procedure called catheter ablation uses the catheters to destroy (ablate) small areas of your heart that are causing the problem.

Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Supraventricular Tachycardia: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?

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Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation? Supraventricular Tachycardia: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?

Why It Is Done

An electrophysiology study is used to:

  • Identify heart rhythm problems.
  • See how well heart rhythm medicines work for you.
  • Check your heart before you have a pacemaker or an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) implanted.
  • Treat certain problems with catheter ablation.

How To Prepare

Tell your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to any medicines, including iodine, or to latex.
  • Have any bleeding problems.
  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have ever had clots in your legs, groin, or pelvis.
  • Have a filter in a large vein to prevent clots from traveling to the heart.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will show. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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