Electrophysiology testing is used to diagnose and treat rhythm disorders within specific regions of the heart. Healthcare specialists such as a cardiologist or an electrophysiologist perform one type of electrophysiology testing (arrhythmia) by placing electrodes into the heart to measure the electrical activity. The test may involve stimulating the heart electrically to create arrhythmias during diagnosis. This healthcare procedure, also known as intracardiac electrophysiology study (EPS), is effective in understanding the causes of abnormal electrocardiograms, cardiac responses, risks for cardiac failure, and the necessity of a pacemaker. Arrhythmia is a condition where the heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or abnormal because of the nature of the rhythm.
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Ideal Candidates for Electrophysiology Testing (Arrhythmia)
Examples of patients who benefit from electrophysiology testing are those who experience abnormally high heartbeats, pounding sensation in their chest, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. Arrhythmia patients with heartbeats that are too slow may require a pacemaker. Electrophysiology testing is an important healthcare tool to treat arrhythmia because serious cases could lead to death. The healthcare procedure of electrophysiology testing involves sending wire electrodes through a catheter into the heart. The purpose of the electrodes is to measure or stimulate the electrical conduction system within the different chambers in order to determine the cause and severity of the problem.
Electrophysiology Testing Procedure
Preparation for electrophysiology testing begins 6-8 hours prior to the procedure by restricting intake of food and fluids. Approximately 30 minutes prior to the test, healthcare specialists will administer a mild sedative that will relieve discomfort while the patient remains awake during the procedure. An electrode, encased in a catheter is placed into a groin vein and threaded into the heart. The opposite end of the electrode is connected to an electrocardiographic monitor which records the results. The procedure may last anywhere from 20 minutes to over one hour.