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Electrophysiology (EP) Study

Electrical impulses coordinate heart contraction in a special sequence that keeps blood flowing the way it should. This electrical activation stimulates the heart pumping function and creates the heart beat and pulse.

An electrophysiological study (EP study) is a test to evaluate your heart's electrical system and check for abnormal heart rhythms. During an EP study, a specialist inserts a small, plastic catheter that is soft like a piece of cooked spaghetti through large IVs placed in veins in the groin or neck and places it in the heart to test the heart's electrical activity.

Once in the heart, the electrodes measure the heart's electrical signals. Electrical signals are also sent through the electrodes to stimulate the heart tissue to cause abnormal heart rhythm. This helps our specialists evaluate the abnormal heart rhythm and find its cause. It may also help assess how well a medicine is working.

Common reasons your healthcare provider would recommend an EP study include:

  • Evaluating symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, weakness, palpitations, or others to see if a heart rhythm problem might be causing them, particularly when other tests have not been clear and your doctor strongly suspects you may have a heart rhythm problem.
  • Getting information related to abnormally fast or slow heart rhythms
  • Finding the source of a heart rhythm problem with the intent to do ablation once the source is identified
  • Seeing how well medicine(s) given to treat a rhythm problem are working

This technology also allows Inova cardiologists to:

  • Induce an arrhythmia safely
  • Localize the source of a heart rhythm abnormality (arrhythmia) in preparation for ablation

The study results may also help the specialist determine if further therapeutic measures, such as inserting a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator may be necessary to protect you from future heart rhythm abnormalities.

Learn more about Electrophysiological studies

Preparing for Your Electrophysiology Procedure - Download Instructions