Cardiac arrythmias may result in palpitations, blackouts, stroke or even sudden cardiac death. Your doctor may recommend an EPS to diagnose your arrythmia and/or determine your best treatment options.
Fast for 6 hours. Your doctor may alter some of your medications prior to the test. Bring your list of medications on the day of the test. You will be asked to sign a consent form after having the risks and benefits of the procedure explained.
Electrophysiology studies are conducted in specialised EP laboratories that contain a range of highly sophisticated monitoring. ECG leads are attached to stick-on electrodes and placed on different parts of your body such as the chest, arms and legs and monitored by a cardiac technician. A general anaesthetic may be given before the procedure, although most are performed under sedation and local anaesthetic. A nurse may shave an area of your leg before the cardiologist makes small incisions to insert the catheters into your leg veins or arteries and then up to your heart. With the catheters in the heart, the cardiologist will give your heart small electrical impulses to make it beat at different speeds, and record the response.
Once an abnormality is located, the abnormal rhythm may be permanently eliminated by a process called ablation. The electrical catheter in the heart locates the problem area and delivers heat or cold to produce a small scar on the heart wall over the problem site. The catheters will be removed. You will move to a recovery room where you will need to rest for a few hours. Your cardiologist will arrange a review to discuss the results.