Providence uses various diagnostic testing methods to effectively understand and ultimately treat your heart condition. Procedures like electrophysiology tests allow your doctor to get a better understanding of what’s keeping you from better health.
An electrophysiology test or study is a look at how well the heart's electrical signals are working. It is used to check for known abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmia) or rhythms.
Using special wires, called temporary electrode catheters, placed in the atrium and/or ventricle along the conduction areas of the heart, an electrophysiology cardiologist conducts a series of tests to identify the areas of the heart that are causing the problems and determine how to treat the patient.
Electrophysiologic testing is performed safely worldwide; complications rarely occur.
The electrophysiology cardiologist gives the patient local anesthesia before placing an IV into the patient’s groin area. Then the temporary electrode catheters are positioned in the atrium and/or ventricle and at strategic positions along the conduction areas of the heart. These special wires record electrical signals and the spread of the electrical impulses during each heartbeat. The electrodes can also give electrical signals that may make the heart skip beats or produce an abnormal heart rhythm. This can help the doctor understand what is causing the abnormal heart rhythm. The doctor may also use medicine to help the abnormal heart rate to occur so that the doctor can study it.
Being able to "turn on" and "turn off" abnormal heart rates during electrophysiologic studies allows antiarrhythmic drugs to be tested quickly for effectiveness. This can be done during a single study using intravenous therapy or during short follow-up studies with oral medication.