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 (doctor whose specialty is abnormal heart rhythms) does the study. 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 stimulate (pace) the heart.
Sometimes an ablation is done to treat an electrical problem found during the study. For this, a 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
The doctor may want your child to have some tests done before the study. These tests might include blood and urine tests, chest X-rays, electrocardiogram (EKG) and an echocardiogram. Often there is no testing needed prior. 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. If they will be used, it is vital that you follow the instructions you are given. Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything from the time stated until after the study.
After the Electrophysiology Study
After the study, your child will go to the post-catheterization recovery room. You may be with your child in the recovery room after they start 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.