Definition of Electrophysiology Study (EPS) and Information

Electrophysiology study (EPS) is a diagnostic procedure in which the cardiologist inserts electrodes into the heart to measure the heart’s rhythm and response to various stimuli.

The EPS is similar to cardiac catheterization and provides information to help diagnose disorders of arrhythmia.

The EPS takes place in a hospital or cardiac catheterization laboratory setting and is a same-day procedure for most people. Preparation consists of no food or drink the night before the procedure. The person undergoing the EPS needs a family member or friend to drive to and from the hospital.

After administering a general sedative and a local anesthetic, the cardiologist threads several catheters through an incision in the groin into the femoral vein and then through the arterial network to the heart, watching their progress via fluoroscopy.

Once in the heart, the leads on the tips of the catheters send back electrical impulses similar to an electrocardiogram (ecg). The cardiologist may administer medications or mild electrical impulses to assess the heart’s response and ability to return to a normal rhythm.

An EPS takes three to four hours to complete. After the procedure is over, the person goes to a recovery area until he or she is fully awake from the sedative and the cardiologist is satisfied there will be no adverse effects. Sometimes the cardiologist will want the person to stay overnight in the hospital for cardiovascular monitoring.

Most people experience mild to moderate discomfort in the groin area where the cardiologist inserted the catheters, and occasionally this is the site for postprocedure bleeding. The EPS provides comprehensive information about the heart’s electrical activity.

See also ECHOCARDIOGRAMSTRESS TEST.

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