WHAT IS ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY TESTING?
Electrophysiology testing is invasive testing. The doctor, through this test, evaluates the electrical activity of the heart. The heart generates electrical impulses that maintain the rhythm of the heartbeat. Through the electrophysiology test, the doctor determines the movement of these impulses between each heartbeat. Electrophysiology testing helps in determining the cause of several heart diseases. It also helps predict the risk of severe cardiac disorders, such as sudden cardiac death.
WHEN DID THE DOCTOR SUGGEST FOR ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY TESTING?
The doctor may suggest you undergo electrophysiology testing in the following cases:
Your heart rhythm is abnormal: People may have an irregular heartbeat. If the condition is persistent, it is known as arrhythmia. The doctor may advise you for electrophysiology testing to determine the best treatment strategy in such patients.
You suddenly lose consciousness: Sudden loss of consciousness or fainting may also be due to heart problems. The doctor suggests you have this testing to rule out the presence of cardiac conditions.
You may have the risk of sudden cardiac death: Based on other reports, the doctor may advise the patients for this testing. In addition, the result of electrophysiology testing assists the doctor in predicting the future risk of sudden cardiac death in the patients.
HOW THE DOCTOR PERFORMS THE ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY TESTING?
The staff will take you into the procedure room. The nurse will attach the IV line through which fluid and drugs would be administered. First, the team will clean your groin area. The doctor will then inject a sedative through the IV line to make you drowsy. Next, the doctor will numb the groin area and insert a catheter. You may feel a little pain or a stinging sensation.
The doctor will advance the catheter towards the heart. Then, a fluoroscopy machine guides the catheter to the heart. The tip of the catheter comprises a sensor that senses the electrical impulses that the heart generates.
The doctor also uses the pacemaker to generate electrical impulses to increase the heart rate. As a result, the patients may feel that their heart beats faster. If the doctor determines arrhythmia, he may also administer the medications to determine its efficacy in managing arrhythmia. The study generally takes 2-3 hours to complete.
HOW SHOULD I BE MONITORED DURING THE TESTING?
The doctor and other paramedical staff will monitor your blood pressure and heart rhythm through several devices. These devices are Defibrillator, pacemaker, or cardioverter, Blood pressure monitor, oximeter monitor, electrocardiogram, and fluoroscopy.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS WITH THE ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY TESTING?
Electrophysiology testing has several risks. These are stroke, blood clots, bleeding, infection, heart valve damage, damage to the heart's electrical conductivity, heart attack, and death.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY TESTING?
After the procedure, the nurse will remove the catheter and monitor it. The staff will also apply pressure on the groin to avoid bleeding. You may have frequent monitoring. In case you feel uneasy, immediately call the doctor.
The doctor may discharge you on the same day of testing. While discharging, he may convey several instructions you need to follow. Avoid performing strenuous activities for the initial 24 hours after the test. Do not lift heavy objects. Walk for a few minutes to prevent any clot formation in the legs.