What Is Electrophysiology?

Electro what? Electrophysiology. It’s the study of the electrical system of the heart.

The electrical impulses of your heart keep it pumping at a steady pace to supply blood throughout your body. Your heart contains special cells that set the pace; they are referred to as sinus node cells. The blood that flows to all areas of your body brings oxygen and other nutrients that your body needs to function properly.

The upper chambers of your heart (atria) pump blood to the lower chambers (ventricles). It is the electrical system in the heart that tells this powerful muscle when to pump the blood. If you have a problem with the electrical system in your heart, blood flow is disrupted and can lead to health problems such as atrial fibrillation, other arrhythmias, palpitations and even blockage.

An EP study, or EPS, can help diagnose a number of heart conditions, including an abnormal heart rhythm. EPS may involve the treatment of a heart problem or the insertion of pacemakers and other tools to make your ticker run properly.

If you doctor suggests an EPS, it will be conducted in a hospital lab with technicians, nurses and cardiologists. The procedure involves inserting an electrode catheter into the heart. An electrode is a long flexible wire used for transmitting currents of electricity to and from your heart. The electrodes are moved through your body while being viewed on an X-ray. Electrical signals can speed up, slow down, or otherwise manipulate the pace of your heart.

You may have to fast before this procedure and will be given a mild sedative. You should not feel much pain, but you may feel your heart racing, skipping, or slowing down. You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure, which lasts approximately 30 minutes. You doctor can review the results and better plan treatment for your heart condition.

To learn more about electrophysiology, come to our special event at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point on November 2, 2011. You can tour the electrophysiology lab, meet the team who performs the procedure and discuss the latest technology. Space is limited so make your reservation now by calling 727-869-5498 or 1-888-741-5119. We hope to see you there!

Related Posts:

All about Arrhythmias

It’s Electric! What You Need to Know about Your Heart’s Electrical System

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