An electrophysiology study (EPS) is a test to see if there is a problem with your child's heartbeat (heart rhythm). The test can also find out how to fix the problem. Sometimes a procedure called catheter ablation is done during an EPS. This destroys (ablates) small areas of your child's heart that are causing the heart rhythm problem.
The doctor puts long, flexible plastic tubes called catheters into a blood vessel in your child's groin, arm, or neck. The doctor then uses an X-ray machine to guide the catheters to your child's heart. Your doctor uses them to record the heart's electrical signals.
If the doctor thinks your child's problem can be fixed with ablation, he or she can destroy a small part of the heart tissue. This is usually done with radio waves.
It may seem like a bad idea to destroy parts of the heart on purpose. But the areas that are destroyed are very tiny. They should not affect the heart's ability to do its job.
Your child will probably be awake during the procedure. The doctor will give your child medicines to help him or her feel relaxed. Medicines also numb the areas where the catheters go in. Your child may feel a little discomfort. But he or she should not feel pain.
If your child has EPS only and does not need more treatment, your child may go home the same day.
If your child also has ablation, he or she may have to stay in the hospital. How long your child will stay depends on the type of ablation.
At home, your child should not exercise hard until your doctor says it is okay. Your doctor will tell you when your child can go back to school or daycare.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Procedures can be stressful both for your child and for you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's procedure.
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Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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