Electrophysiology Studies (EPS)
What is a Cardiac Electrophysiology Study (EPS)?
A Cardiac Electrophysiology Study (EP Study or EPS) is used to evaluate your heart’s electrical system and to check for abnormal heart rhythms.
It may be performed to:
- determine the cause of a fast heart rhythm (eg supraventricular tachyardia),
- to investigate the cause of syncope (blackout), or
- to investigate for the possiblity of dangerous or life threatening abnormal heart rhythms (eg ventricualr tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation).
An electrophysiology study is minimally invasive, using electrical catheters inserted at the groin and fed through the vessels to the heart. The electrical catheters inside the heart record the heart’s internal electrical signals (electrogram).
The EP study helps your Electrophysiologist to determine an appropriate treatment for the heart rhythm problem – for example, medications, catheter ablation, pacemaker or implantable cardiac defibrillator.
How do I Prepare?
Your usual medication routine should be continued in general, however, medications that affect your heart rhythm and rate may interfere with the procedure and might need to be stopped temporarily. You should discuss your medication with your cardiologist.
In most cases you will be required to fast (no food or drink) for six to eight hours prior to the procedure. You can take your usual medications with a small sip of water early on the morning of the procedure.
What Should I Expect?
Before the Procedure
- We may use a sedative to make you drowsy and comfortable. Full general anaesthesia is rarely required for an EP Study.
During the Procedure
- Up to 4 electrical catheters are passed up from the groin and into the heart.
- With the catheters in position, the electrical signals in different parts of the heart can be recorded.
- Electrical impulses can be delivered to stimulate the heart to cause it to beat (pacing).
- We use the information from the Electrophysiology Study to assess the conduction properties of the heart, study arrhythmias, and assess for extra pathways/connections that may have developed.
- Often an EP Study is a first step in a catheter ablation procedure.
- At the end of the procedure, sometimes a suture is required to close the incision in the groin. Pressure will be applied to help stop bleeding.
After the Procedure
- The catheter insertion site at the groin, heart rhythm and basic vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse and breathing will be carefully monitored usually for four hours following the procedure.
- You may need to spend the night in hospital after the procedure for monitoring.
- Before you are discharged from hospital, you will be advised on wound care, medication changes and level of activity.
- If you are discharged on the same day, you will need to arrange for someone to escort you home, and where possible, have someone stay with you overnight.
- Your doctor will advise on any symptoms where you should seek immediate help. These may include symptoms such as chest pain, and bleeding, discharge or excessive pain from the insertion site.
- Your doctor will advise on when your follow up appointment is required and one of our staff members will be in contact to make the booking.