The electrophysiology study is performed to obtain a diagnosis for patients who have or might have heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). It allows us to identify the type and severity of the arrhythmias. It is also useful in honing our focus as to which treatment would be best.
How is the electrophysiological study done?
The patient has to be fasting for the electrophysiological study to be carried out.
- The subject must undress and lie down on a special table in the electrophysiology laboratory. The technique is usually performed after administering a sedative.
- The patient is given local anesthesia at the puncture site (veins and/or arteries in the groin, arm or neck) so that the puncture will not be painful, and catheters (thin, long and flexible cables) will be introduced that will be guarded to the heart using an x-ray (fluoroscopy) or other tracking system that does not require radiation.
- The catheters are used for continuous recording of the heart’s electrical activity from the inside and defining the type of arrhythmia and its specific location. The electrical activity is displayed on a monitor. The catheters may also serve as pacemakers if connected to an external stimulating device.
- Sometimes it is necessary to administer a drug during the test to confirm the diagnosis of arrhythmia. On other occasions electric shock might have to be applied. For this, the patient will be anesthetized.
- The duration of the procedure varies, and might last from 30 minutes to several hours.
- When it is over, the patient has to remain resting for several hours more, to avoid complications in the area of the puncture.
- Right/left femoral vein and artery
- Left median/antecubital veins (coronary sinus)
- Right/left subclavian vein
- Right jugular vein (exceptional cases)