An electrophysiology study, also called an EPS, is a test to see if there is a problem with your heartbeat (heart rhythm) and to find out how to fix it. Sometimes a procedure called catheter ablation is done during an EPS. This procedure destroys (ablates) small areas of your heart that are causing your heart rhythm problem.
The doctor puts plastic tubes called catheters into blood vessels in your groin, arm, or neck. He or she then uses an X-ray machine to guide long, flexible wires called catheters through the tubes and to your heart. Your doctor uses the catheters to record your heart's electrical signals.
If the doctor thinks your problem can be fixed with ablation, he or she can destroy a small part of your heart tissue. This is usually done with radio waves.
You will probably be awake during the procedure, or you may be asleep. The doctor will give you medicines to help you feel relaxed and to numb the areas where the catheters go in.
An EPS and ablation can take 2 to 6 hours. In rare cases, it can take longer. If you have EPS only and you do not need more treatment, you may go home the same day. But if you also have ablation, you may stay overnight in the hospital. How long you stay in the hospital depends on the type of ablation you have.
Do not exercise hard or lift anything heavy for a week. You may be able to go back to work and to your normal routine in 1 or 2 days.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having a procedure can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for your 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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