Electrophysiology (EP) studies and corrective procedures relating to the nature of abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias are done in the cardiac catheterization lab. An irregular heart beat can lead to heart disease, fatigue, stroke and congestive heart failure.
Electrical pulses usually travel in a regular pattern through a cardiovascular system. Heart attacks, aging and high blood pressure may cause damage to the heart tissue and lead to an irregular pattern. People with otherwise healthy hearts can develop an arrhythmia, but it is rare. Arrhythmias can be too slow (Bradycardia), too fast (Tachycardia), or irregular.
Allen Hospital's electrophysiology program delivers quality outcomes and ranks high according to the ICD Registry because of its comprehensive nature and the variety of services it offers.
Electrophysiology Test (EPS)
An EPS can locate the source of an abnormal heart rhythm, to determine its cause and to determine the best way to treat the arrhythmia. Some symptoms associated with arrhythmia are palpitations, dizziness or fainting spells.
How do I prepare for the test?
- Do not eat anything after midnight the night before the test. No food in your system for at least 8 hours before the procedure.
- Discuss current medications you are taking with your physician prior to the test.
- Mention any allergies to your physician.
- Make arrangements to have a family member or friend take you home following the procedure.
- Bring a list of your current medications to the physician (including aspirin or blood thinners). Your doctor may want to continue them while you recover from the procedure.
NOTE: Your doctor may decide to keep you overnight in the hospital. Pack a small, overnight bag with pajamas, toiletries, etc. We recommend including something to pass the time, like a book or magazines.
What is the test?
The heart's rhythm ("beat cycle" or "contraction cycle") is controlled by a natural pacemaker called the sino-atrial node (SA node). The SA node, located in the right atrium, creates an electrical impulse that travels first through the right and left atria, and then to the right and left ventricles, causing the heart to beat.
During the electrophysiology study, catheters are inserted into blood vessels in various locations, and advanced to the heart. Through these wires, electrical impulses are both delivered to and received from the heart, assessing both normal and abnormal conditions. An attempt is made to duplicate the patient's clinical arrhythmia by pacing the heart from different locations and at different rates.
Once an arrhythmia has been initiated, it is assessed and analyzed to determine its origin and pathway of conduction. Once determined, a decision is made on best cause of treatment, which may include medications, ablation with radiofrequency or even device treatment where a Pacemaker or an Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) may be implanted. At the end of the procedure the catheters are removed and pressure is placed on the puncture site to prevent bleeding.
Pacemakers are small electrical devices that help control the timing of your heartbeat. The pacemaker sends out mild electrical pulses that keep your heart beating normally.
Traditional pacemakers are implanted under the skin of your chest wall. These pacemakers have wires that pass through a vein into the chambers of your heart.
The Micra™ is referred to as the "world's smallest pacemaker" and implanted directly into the patient's heart. It is 93% smaller than conventional pacemakers, and is about the size of a large vitamin capsule.
It is implanted through a small incision in the groin and threaded through blood vessels to the heart. This less-invasive procedure means there is no chest incision, scar or visible bump that is typically present for traditional pacemakers. For most patients, the Micra™ results in fewer medical complications, faster recovery and fewer post-implant activity restrictions.