When the heart doesn't beat normally, doctors need to know why. Cardiac electrophysiology studies (EPS) help doctors understand the nature of arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms. These results can help you and your doctor (cardiac electrophysiologist) decide upon the appropriate treatment option, which could range from medicine, a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), cardiac ablation or cardiac surgery. These studies take place in a special room called an electrophysiology (EP) lab or catheterization lab while you are mildly sedated.
Diagnoses & Procedures
During cardiac EPS, doctors insert a thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel that leads to your heart. A specialized electrode catheter designed for EPS studies lets them send electrical signals to your heart and record its electrical activity. During the study, about three to five electrically sensitive catheters are placed inside the heart to record electrical activity.
Cardiac EP studies usually last between one and five hours. If the type and location of the arrhythmia is identified and an appropriate therapy decided, cardiac ablation or insertion of a pacemaker or ICD may be performed during or immediately after the EP study.
Who is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist?
Cardiac electrophysiologists are cardiologists who specialize in rhythm disturbances of the heart. They perform some of the most complex and intricate procedures on the heart aimed at treating these life altering conditions. They perform minimally invasive procedures including cardiac ablation utilizing the latest in 3D technology, percutaneous laser lead extraction, and cardiac device implantation.
What kind of rhythm disorders do electrophysiologists treat?
Cardiac electrophysiologists perform cardiac ablations to treat and many times cure conditions including:
Wolf-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome
Accessory Pathway Mediated Tachycardia
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
Electrophysiologists also implant special cardiac devices which can help control problems of slow or fast heart rate and help the heart pump more efficiently in advanced heart failure. Also in select circumstances, they can perform laser lead extraction to remove these devices from the body in cases of infection or malfunction.
Who is a candidate for a cardiac ablation?
Many heart rhythm disturbances are potentially treatable without medications by cardiac ablation. Cardiac ablation can be an option for anyone looking to improve quality of life, minimize their symptoms and reduce the financial burden as well as adverse side effects of medications.