Electrophysiology (EP) Study

What is an EP study?
An EP study is a special heart study in which catheter wires are placed into the heart through a vein that runs in either the right or left groin. These wires are used to thoroughly check the heart’s electrical system and to test for any abnormalities.

Where does the procedure take place?
The procedure takes place in a specialized cardiac catheterization laboratory I the hospital that has been designed to perform complex catheterization procedures.

How do I prepare for the test?
Take your prescription medicines with a few sips of water. Do not eat or drink 6 hours prior to the test.

How is the procedure performed?
We will bring you to the laboratory in a hospital gown and give you sedation medicine to help you feel relaxed and at ease. The doctor will then place numbing medicine just under the skin in the groin area. Once the area is numb, the doctor will place small intravenous tubes in the veins. Through these tubes, the electrophysiology catheters will then be placed under fluoroscopy (X-ray) into the heart. The doctors will use the catheters to pace the heart in an attempt to “stir up” irregular heart rhythms. The doctor may start and stop these irregular rhythms many times.

Once the heart’s electrical problem has been diagnosed, the doctor can then make recommendations to you and your family regarding appropriate therapy.

Is the test painful?
The test is simple, not painful, and performed in a specific laboratory under controlled clinical circumstances by cardiologists and nurses. The most common complaint after this test is minor back discomfort from having to lie flat for up to 4 hours.

How long does the procedure take?
An electrophysiology study can take anywhere from 2-4 hours to perform. Patients often drift off to sleep during this procedure.

When will I receive my test results?
If your physician conducts the test, you may learn the test results before you leave.