Electrophysiologic (EP) Testing
What is Electrophysiology?
Electrophysiology is the study of the hearts electrical system. The hearts electrical system controls the blood pumping and circulating throughout your body through rhythmic contractions. Electrical signals from the sinus node stimulate the heart to contract and pump blood at a controlled rate to nourish and energize the body.
A very common irregularity of the hearts electrical circuits is called an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythms affect millions of people and may go unnoticed or may result in dizziness, fainting, or palpitations.
If you suspect that you have an abnormal heart rhythm, consult with your physician and have him/her evaluate if you are experiencing arrhythmias or at are risk. If a patient is experiencing serious arrhythmias, your physician may suggest Electrophysiologic (EP) testing. An EP test consists of catheters, made of long flexible wires, which transmit electrical currents to and from the heart while being passed through your veins and arteries.
The most commonly diagnosed arrhythmia is called Atrial Fibrillation (AF). Atrial Fibrillation is caused by electrical abnormalities characterized by having fast and irregular heart rhythms. Symptoms common with this condition include shortness of breath, palpations, and/or chest discomfort.
Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation include:
- Antiarrythmic drug therapy – certain medications can slow the down a rapid heart rhythm converting the heart to a normal sinus rhythm.
- Catheter Ablation – eliminating areas of the heart are generating abnormal heart rhythms. The electrophysiologists will guide an ablating catheter to the sites and treats and defective tissue by emits a painless electromagnetic energy to ablate (destroy) the defective areas.
- Device Therapy – implanting a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to. A pacemaker is generally implanted under the collarbone to regulate your heart beat by electrical wire leads threaded through the veins, chest, and then to the heart. An ICD is implanted into the chest to monitor the heart rate and if necessary deliver electrical therapy to restore normal rhythm.
Two valuable resources of information are board certified cardiologist and electrophysiologists. Electrophysiologists are cardiologists with specialized training in heart rhythm disorders and can offer advanced treatments.
To find a board certified cardiologist or electrophysiologists, please call our free Physician Referral Line at 1-866-4HCA-DOCs.