One of the best ways to determine how well your heart is functioning and whether there may be any underlying heart rhythm abnormalities, is through a diagnostic electrophysiological study.
By measuring and analyzing the electrical activity in your heart, we can help you identify symptoms proactively and gain a deeper understanding of your heart function and condition.
What does a diagnostic electrophysiology study measure?
The study will be done to measure how fast your heart’s electrical signals are traveling. In addition, it will look at how well those impulses are pacing (your heartbeat and rhythm). During the study, your electrophysiologist can even test how your heart signals respond to specific medications.
Specifically, the test is designed to provide results that will inform your heart team about:
- How well your heart’s electrical system is functioning overall.
- What factors are causing heart rhythm abnormalities.
- How effective certain drugs are on your condition.
This information can help your doctor:
- Determine whether you have an abnormality in your heartbeat and what the best course of action may be.
- Predicting whether you are at risk for certain serious cardiac events.
- Determining if follow-up interventions may be required, such as implanting a pacemaker or defibrillator — or how well your pacemaker is working, if you already have one.
- Decide whether to prescribe and/or alter medications
What to expect during a diagnostic electrophysiology study
The electrophysiology study is a safe and low risk procedure and follows a very specific process from start to finish.
X-ray table: Patients start by lying on an X-ray table with a large X-ray camera above, as well as TV and heart monitors nearby. During this phase, the staff will be covered in sterile, protective gowns and masks to help keep you safe.
Cardiac catheterization: Then, the team uses a catheterization technique to thread thin wires to your heart. Catheterization involves taking a thin tube, inserting it into a blood vessel and then guiding wires to the heart’s right side. During this phase, patients may feel some slight pressure but generally no pain.
Monitoring and recording: Once the wires are in position, electrical signals from your heart are monitored and recorded for further analysis. While this data is collected, your electrophysiologist may artificially increase your heart rate to look at the effect of any abnormal rhythm disruption, plus they may test the effectiveness of certain drugs on your condition.
The entire procedure generally takes one to three hours. Avoiding strenuous activity after the procedure is recommended.
Am I a good candidate for a diagnostic electrophysiology study?
Many patients who are currently experiencing or have recently experienced symptoms related to irregular heartbeat may be referred for an electrophysiology study. These symptoms may include:
- Fainting spells
As with any procedure, always consult with your physician ahead of time so you can discuss your condition, risks and outcomes.
Our electrophysiology locations
If you need answers about your heart, a diagnostic electrophysiology study may help. Call the location nearest you to schedule a consultation or appointment: