Electrophysiology studies (EPS) are tests that help doctors understand the nature of abnormal heart rhythms. These studies test the electrical activity of your heart to find where an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is coming from. The results can help you and your doctor decide whether you need medicine, a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), cardiac ablation, or surgery.
What to ExpectJump Up
Prior to your procedure, a doctor or nurse will review your medical history. He or she will also explain the purpose of the Diagnostic Electrophysiology Study (EPS), its potential benefits, and possible risks. Because an EPS is invasive, requiring the insertion of catheters into your body, it involves some risk. However, the risk is very small and most patients who undergo EPS do not experience complications. In addition, you will need to have a blood test, ECG, and chest x-ray before the procedure.
How do I prepare for an EPS test?
If your procedure is in the morning, you can have NOTHING to eat or drink from midnight the night before your procedure. You will be instructed what medications of yours you are allowed to take the morning of the procedure. If your procedure is in the afternoon, you can have a small breakfast (such as toast and juice) before 6:00 am.
What should I expect during a procedure?
Diagnostic Electrophysiology Studies are done in a lab. During the procedure, nurses will monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure. You will be given medication to relax during the procedure, but you will be awake during the procedure.
How long do these tests typically take?
Diagnostic Electrophysiology Tests usually take about 1 hour, but you will need to be at the lab all day. If an ablation is performed, the procedure can last up to 3 hours and you may need to stay overnight.
Is there a long recovery time for these procedures?
You can resume normal daily activities (walking, showering, etc.) upon discharge from the hospital unless instructed differently. The only restriction is straining or lifting heavy objects more than 10 pounds for 5-7 days, so that the incision can heal.