• Electrophysiology

    An electrophysiology study is one of many tests that reveal your heart health. If you have an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), this test can help identify the cause and help your doctor choose the right treatment option for you, such as a pacemaker.

    What is an arrhythmia?

    Electrical signals usually travel through your heart in a regular pattern. Heart attacks, aging and high blood pressure may cause scarring of the heart. This scarring may cause your heart to beat in an irregular pattern. Certain heart defects can also cause arrhythmias.

    What is the purpose of an electrophysiology study?

    Your doctor can use this test to see:

    • The cause of your arrhythmia.
    • How your heart responds to arrhythmia medications.
    • What type of treatment you need, such as a pacemaker, defibrillator or catheter ablation.
    • If you’re at risk for heart problems such as fainting or cardiac arrest.

    What will happen during my procedure?

    The Zazulia Heart and Vascular Center performs all electrophysiology study procedures inside our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs.

    During the test:

    • You’ll receive medicine to help you relax, but you will remain awake and be able to follow instructions during the test.
    • Your nurse will clean and shave the part of your body where the catheter will be inserted (in your groin, arm, or neck), and you will receive a local anesthetic to make the area numb.
    • Your doctor will insert a small straw-sized tube called a sheath into your artery or vein. The doctor will gently guide several specialized electrode catheters into your blood vessel through the sheath and advance them to your heart. A video screen will show the position of the catheters. You may feel some pressure in the area where the sheath was inserted, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
    • Your doctor will send small electric pulses through the catheters to make your heart beat at different speeds. You may feel your heart beat stronger or faster. The special catheters will pick up and record electrical signals produced by your heart. This is called cardiac mapping and allows the doctor to locate where arrhythmias are coming from.

    The entire procedure lasts one to four hours.

    Source: American Heart Association

    Tour our cardiac catheterization lab at Anne Arundel Medical Center.