What happens during the Electrophysiology Study?
Electrodes will be placed on your back, shoulders, and chest area
to monitor your heart rhythm at all times. A blood pressure cuff
will be placed around your arm so that your blood pressure may
be monitored, as well. You will have an intravenous line to give
you fluids and medication, if necessary.
The catheter site(s) will be shaved and cleansed. You will be
covered with sterile sheets. The electrophysiologist will give
you medication to numb the catheter insertion area(s). The numbing
medicine will cause you feel stinging for a short while, but you
won't feel any pain. When the electrophysiologist uses a special
needle to find the vein, you will feel some pressure. Let her
know if you feel pain at that point. If you do, you will receive
Part of the x-ray machine that guides the electrophysiologist,
will be placed directly over your body.
After the catheters are in place, the electrophysiologist will
evaluate your heart rhythm by giving your heart small electrical
impulses to make it beat at different speeds. it's very important
to let her know how you feel throughout the procedure.
You may feel your heartbeat changing or your heart racing from
time to time. Some people faint when their hearts beat fast. If
this occurs, the electrophysiologist may give you some medication,
or she may deliver an electrical impulse called a countershock
to change your heart rhythm back to normal.
When the procedure is complete, the electrophysiologist will
remove the catheters from your groin and apply pressure to the
area for 5 to 10 minutes to prevent bleeding. Then a dressing
will be applied to the area.
How long does the procedure take?
An EPS usually takes 2 to 4 hours.
What happens after the procedure?
After the procedure, your blood pressure, heart rate and maybe
catheter insertion sites will be checked at regular intervals.
You will rest for about 4 hours. You must keep your legs straight;
do not bend your knees. You are allowed to roll back and forth
on the bed. You may move your feet and wiggle your toes to relieve
You will leave with a dressing on the catheter insertion site(s).
Your doctor will review your test results and discuss them with
you. She will explain your treatment options.
Usually, you will be able to go home on the day of the procedure.
What are the treatment options?
If arrhythmias have been found, the treatment may include: medication,
surgery, ablation, an antitachycardia pacemaker, or an automatic
implantable cardioverter defibrillator.
Medicine The electrophysiologist may have tested the effectiveness
of certain medications during the EPS. Your doctor will choose
the best one for you.
Aneurysmectomy This procedure manages ventricular tachycardias
by removing necrotic (non-functioning) tissue at the site of a
prior heart attack.
Catheter Ablation This technique selectively destroys
tissue by use of electrical current or radio frequency current
. This approach eliminates the site of origin of tachycardia or
interrupts the pathway through which the arrhythmia travels. Sometimes
consent is obtained for this procedure prior to the Electrophysiology
Study, and is then the ablation is performed immediately after
Anti-tachycardia Pacemaker This approach involves the
insertion of a special type of pacemaker. At the precise moment
during the tachycardia, the arrhythmia can be interrupted with
bursts of rapid pacing from the pacemaker.
Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (AICD)
This device selectively and automatically delivers an electrical
shock to interrupt recurrent and malignant arrhythmias.
What should I do at home?
When you are at home, contact your doctor if you notice any bleeding
at the insertion site, shortness of breath, coldness or numbness
of your arm or leg, increase in bruising or swelling, a fever
over 100 degrees F; or if you feel chest pain.
Avoid heavy lifting for a few days
You will probably be able to resume your normal activities in
a day or two.