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 determine the origin of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). The results of these studies help your doctor determine the best treatment options for you, which may include medication, pacemaker, defibrillator, or cardiac ablation.
What to ExpectJump Up
BEFORE THE PROCEDURE
You will arrive at Boone Hospital Cath Lab for the procedure. You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and remove your jewelry. An IV will be started and blood will be drawn. Your doctor will review the risks and benefits of the procedure and you will be asked to sign a consent form.
Once it is time for the procedure you will be taken into the procedure room. You will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) that records your heart rhythm. Your vital signs will be monitored throughout the procedure. Your skin will be cleaned with an antimicrobial. The nurse will give you some medication that will help you relax. You may feel groggy; however, you will be awake during the procedure.
DURING THE PROCEDURE
Once the procedure starts you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the skin. Several large IVs will be placed in the femoral vein near your groin. Your doctor will run a wire with a catheter over it through the vein to your heart. The electrodes on the wire allow the doctor to map your heart and do different tests to determine what type of arrhythmia you are having. If indicated, your doctor may perform a cardiac ablation to eliminate the arrhythmia. During an ablation, a small piece of heart tissue is burned. This goal of this is to prevent the arrhythmia from recurring.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
Following the procedure, you will be monitored for a period of time. Once you are completely awake you may eat and drink. You will be on bedrest for a period of time which will be determined by your physician. Your groin may be tender for a few days following the procedure. If an ablation is performed during the EPS you will be required to stay overnight in the hospital. Upon discharge, you will be given a list of activity restrictions. Your doctor will arrange a follow-up appointment if necessary.
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.