Heart Encyclopedia
Electrophysiology Study

What is an Electrophysiology Study?

An electrophysiology study is a test of the heart’s electrical system. It is done to find out why the heart may beat too slowly, too quickly, or in an abnormal pattern.

A cardiac electrophysiologist is a doctor whose specialty is abnormal heart rhythms. The doctor inserts catheters (small wires that can bend), into an IV, through the veins, and guides them into the heart. This allows the doctor to look at and record the electrical activity of the heart. Small electrical impulses can be sent through the catheters to pace the heart.

Sometimes an ablation is done to treat an electrical problem found during the study. For this, high-frequency energy is sent through the catheter, or a special catheter is used to freeze a small part of the heart. This helps to destroy heart cells that are causing the abnormal heartbeat.

Before the Electrophysiology Study

Tests may need to be done before the study. These tests might include blood and urine tests, chest X-rays, electrocardiogram (EKG) and an echocardiogram. Often there is no prior testing needed. But, if testing is needed, the doctor will schedule these and tell you about them.  

Sedation or anesthesia medicines may be used for the study. If they will be used, it is vital that you follow the instructions you are given. Do not eat or drink anything from the time stated until after the study.

After the Electrophysiology Study

After the study, recovery will occur in the post-catheterization recovery room. A support person will be allowed in the recovery room after your child starts to wake up.

The nurses and doctors will give you discharge and follow-up instructions before you leave the hospital. Your child will need to be able to drink fluid, walk without support and use the bathroom before discharge.

Last Updated 03/2024

Reviewed By Michelle Martin, EP Coordinator

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