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Heart Disease Health Center

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Heart Disease and Electrophysiology Testing

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What Can I Expect During the Electrophysiology Study? continued...

An electrophysiologist (a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms) will numb your skin with medication and then insert several catheters into the veins beneath the skin. Guided by the fluoroscopy machine, the catheters are threaded to your heart. The catheters sense the electrical activity in your heart and are used to evaluate your heart's conduction system. The doctor will use a pacemaker to deliver the electrical impulses through one of the catheters to increase your heart rate.

You may feel your heart beating faster or stronger. Your nurses and doctor will want to know about any symptoms you are feeling. If your arrhythmia occurs, your doctor may give you medications through your IV to test their effectiveness in controlling it. If necessary, a small amount of energy may be delivered by the patches on your chest to bring back a normal heart rhythm. Based on the information collected during the study, the doctor may continue with an ablation procedure.

The EP study takes about two to four hours to perform. However, it can take longer if additional treatments such as catheter ablation are performed at the same time.

What Happens After the EP Study?

The doctor will remove the catheters and apply pressure to the site, to prevent bleeding. You will be on bed rest for about one to two hours.

An EP study allows the doctor to decide the best treatment for you. In many cases, EP testing and the therapy following can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing abnormal heart rhythms in the future. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or nurse.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on May 16, 2014
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