Electrophysiology Studies are done by Dr. Trevor Greene in an outpatient hospital setting. EP studies are done to test the heart’s electrical system. The electrical system is what generates the heartbeat.
During this invasive procedure, an X-ray, referred to as fluoroscopy, is done by inserting a catheter through a vein in the groin (or sometimes the arm). Electrical signals are sent through this catheter to the heart tissue to evaluate the electrical conduction system contained within the heart muscle tissue.
A few different ways to test the abnormalities of the conduction system are:
Mapping: this method locates the point of origin of the dysrhythmia (an abnormal rhythm). If an abnormality is found, an ablation (removal of the spot by freezing or radiofrequency) may be done to correct the dysrhythmia.
Stimulation of the dysrhythmia may be done by an electrical signal, in which case medication may be given to treat the dysrhythmia. Another attempt is made to stimulate the dysrhythmia in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the medication once it is given.
How do rhythm problems affect the heart? Problems may occur when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. The effects are often the same. One of the most common dysrhythmias is premature ventricular beats, or PVCs. PVCs are when the ventricle is contracting and pumping out blood before the atrium has completely pumped its blood volume into the ventricle. PVCs are harmless. Almost everyone has had them at one time or another. This can cause weakness, palpitations, or low blood pressure.
Some dysrhythmias occur only intermittently, and cannot be seen on a routine EKG or a Holter monitor. If your physician suspects a problem with the heart's conduction system and cannot diagnose the problem with either of tests, then he/she may decide that an EP study would be appropriate.