Highly trained specialists perform EP studies in a specially designed EP lab outfitted with advanced technology and equipment.
Why an EP study?
Normally, electricity flows throughout the heart in a regular, measured pattern. This electrical system brings about coordinated heart muscle contractions. A problem anywhere along the electrical pathway causes an arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disturbance. By accurately diagnosing the precise cause of an arrhythmia, it is possible to select the best possible treatment.
While electrocardiograms (ECGs or EKGs) are important tests of the heart s electrical system, they provide only a brief snapshot of the heart s electrical activity.
Arrhythmias can be unpredictable and intermittent, which makes it unlikely that an electrocardiogram will capture the underlying electrical pathway problem. Even tests that stretch over longer time periods, such as Holter monitoring, may not capture an event.
During an EP study, a specially trained cardiac specialist may provoke arrhythmia events and collect data about the flow of electricity during actual events. As a result, EP studies can diagnose the cause and precise location of the arrhythmia. This detailed electrical flow information provides valuable
The Value of an EP Study
An electrophysiology, or EP, study provides information that is key to diagnosing and treating arrhythmias. Although it is more invasive than an electrocardiogram (ECG) or echocardiogram, and involves provoking arrhythmias, the test produces data that makes it possible to:
- Diagnose the source of arrhythmia symptoms
- Evaluate the effectiveness of certain medications in controlling the heart rhythm disorder
- Predict the risk of a future cardiac event, such as Sudden Cardiac Death
- Assess the need for an implantable device (a pacemaker or ICD) or treatment procedure (radiofrequency catheter ablation) diagnostic and, therefore, treatment information.
EP studies most often are recommended for patients with symptoms suggesting heart rhythm disorders or for people who may be at risk for Sudden Cardiac Death (cardiac arrest).