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What is Electrophysiology & Its Relation to Heart Health?

Cardiac Electrophysiology investigations examine your heart’s electrical activity to determine the source of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). These findings may assist you and your doctor in determining if you require medication, a pacemaker, an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), cardiac ablation, or surgery. These Electrophysiology tests are performed while you are seated in a specific room called an electrophysiology (EP) lab or a catheterization (cath) lab.

What is an Electrophysiological Studies?

A Cardiac Electrophysiology study (CEP study) is a test that assesses the electrical system of your heart and looks for irregular cardiac rhythms.

The contractions of the various components of the heart are coordinated by natural electrical impulses. This aids in the proper circulation of blood. The heartbeat, also known as heart rhythm, is the result of this movement of the heart.

Your doctor will introduce small, thin wire electrodes into a vein in your groin during a Cardiac Electrophysiology Study (or neck, in some cases). The wire electrodes will then be threaded through the vein and into the heart. To do so, he or she uses fluoroscopy, a unique form of X-ray “movie.” 

The electrodes measure the electrical signals of the heart once they have entered it. Electrical signals are also supplied through the electrodes in an attempt to activate the cardiac tissue and produce the irregular heart rhythm. This is done so that it can be assessed and the source of the problem can be identified. It could also be used to assess how well a drug is working.

Specialists in heart rhythms or electrophysiologists may map the dispersion of the heart’s electrical impulses during each beat during the CEP investigation. This could be done to figure out what’s causing an irregular heartbeat.

Read More –  Heart Bypass Surgery (CABG)

What are the risks of Electrophysiological Study?

The following are some of the potential risks of an EP study:

  • Bruising and bleeding where the catheter is inserted into a vein.
  • The catheter causes damage to the vessel it is inserted into.
  • Blood clots form at the end of the catheter and break off, traveling into a blood vessel.
  • Infection of the catheter site occurs infrequently
  • Perforation (hole) of the heart is a rare occurrence.
  • Damage to the heart’s conduction system occurs infrequently.

How Electrophysiology Procedure is Performed?

  • The Electrophysiology procedure will take place in the hospital’s electrophysiology laboratory, where you will be placed on an X-ray table. There will be a camera and television displays nearby, as well as heart monitors and other gadgets. To link you to monitoring equipment, electrodes will be implanted on your chest and back. To monitor your blood pressure, a blood pressure cuff will be placed on your upper arm.
  • A nurse will shave and clean the groin and maybe neck area where the catheters will be put to prevent infection. An antiseptic will be used to clean the region. Your body will be draped in sterile blankets.
  • Make sure you are in a comfortable position so you can stay still throughout the operation. Please keep your hands away from the sterile areas of your neck and groin.
  • You may be given drugs intravenously, or through your arm, to sedate or make you sleepy, depending on the type of study you are participating in. These drugs can help you feel less anxious and relieve pain. If sedative medications are necessary, your doctor will advise you.
  • To numb the area where the catheters are implanted, a local anesthetic will be injected with a tiny needle. For a few seconds, you will feel a pinprick and possibly a stinging sensation.
  • One or more catheters will be put into a major vein in your groin or neck. Catheters are thin, long, flexible wires. Catheters will be inserted into your body and guided to your heart. On a screen, the position of catheters inside your heart will be monitored. When the catheters are implanted, you may feel pressure. The incision is only a quarter of an inch long.

What happened after an Electrophysiological Study?

In the hospital:

  • You may be transferred to the recovery room for observation or returned to your hospital room following the electrophysiology test. Your vital signs, the insertion site, and circulation or sensation in the affected limb or arm will all be monitored by a nurse.
  • If you experience any chest pain or tightness, or any other pain, as well as any feelings of warmth, blood, or pain at the insertion site, tell your nurse right once.
  • Depending on your condition, bed rest can last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. You may get out of bed when the prescribed bed rest period has passed.
  • When getting out of bed, take it carefully to minimize dizziness from the extended time of bed rest.
  • Unless your electrophysiology doctor advises differently, you can resume your regular diet after the test.
  • Although your doctor determines otherwise, you may be discharged to your home once you have recovered. If you had this test done as an outpatient, you must have someone else drive you home.

At home: 

  • When you get home, look for bleeding, unusual pain, swelling, and a change in color or temperature at the insertion site. A minor bruise is to be expected.
  • The insertion site must be kept clean and dry at all times. Bathing instructions will be given to you by your doctor.
  • It is possible that you will be instructed not to do any vigorous activity for a few days after the test. When you can return to work and resume your normal activities, your doctor will notify you.

If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider:

  1. Fever or chills with a fever of more than 100.4°F (38.0°C).
  2. Increased pain, redness, swelling, bleeding, or other discharge at the site of the catheter insertion.
  3. Coolness, numbness, or tingling in the affected limb, or other symptoms
  4. Chest pain or pressure, nausea or vomiting, excessive perspiration, dizziness, or fainting are all symptoms of a heart attack.


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