Electrophysiology Study

An electrophysiology study is a test that evaluates the electrical system of the heart. It is done to find out why someone's heart may beat too slowly or too quickly, or why it does not beat in a regular pattern.

A cardiac electrophysiologist (doctor who specializes in abnormalities of the heart rhythm) performs the test. During the electrophysiology study, the doctor inserts flexible catheters (small wires) into an IV and through the veins and guides them into the heart. Using these catheters, the doctor can look at and record the electrical activity of the heart.  Small electrical impulses can be sent through the catheters to stimulate (pace) the heart.

Sometimes an ablation is done to treat an electrical problem found during an electrophysiology study. An ablation occurs when high-frequency energy is sent through the catheter or a special catheter is used to freeze a small area of the heart to destroy heart cells that are causing the abnormal heartbeat.

The doctor may want your child to have some tests done before the electrophysiology study. These tests might include blood and urine tests, chest X-rays, electrocardiogram (EKG) and an echocardiogram. Often there is no required pre-procedural testing.  If needed, the doctor will schedule these and tell you about them. These tests will help the doctor know more about your child before the study.

Sedation or anesthesia, medicines to help calm your child, may be used for the study. Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything from the time specified in your instructions until the electrophysiology study.

After the electrophysiology study, your child will go to the post-catheterization recovery room. You may be with your child in the recovery room after he or she starts to wake up.

The nurses and doctors will give you discharge and follow-up instructions before you and your child leave the hospital.

Last Updated 10/2015