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 veins in your groin, arm, 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.
- Heart Problems: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.Heart Problems: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Why It Is Done
An electrophysiology study is used
- Identify heart rhythm problems.
how well heart rhythm medicines work for you.
- Check your heart
before you have a
pacemaker or an
ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator)
- Treat certain problems with
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if
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?).
Tell your doctors all the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia. Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure.
If you take blood-thinning medicine, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking this medicine before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
Arrange for someone to take you home
after the test. You may not have to stay in the hospital overnight.
Do not eat or drink (except for a small amount of water) for a few
hours before the test. If you are taking any medicines, ask your doctor if you
should take them on the day of the test.
Take off any nail polish. That will make it
easier for doctors and nurses to check the circulation in your fingers and
Be sure to empty your bladder completely just before the