An electrophysiology study (EPS) is a minimally invasive procedure used to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity. Electrophysiology Studies are frequently done to detect abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias. The doctor may also recommend an EPS to see how well the patient responds to the anti-arrhythmic medicine.
How is Electrophysiology Studies performed?
An IV (intravenous) line is connected to the patient’s arm. He is generally given a sedative but remains awake and responsive during the study. A nurse then records and continuously monitors the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and oxygen level. Following this, the region where the doctor will work is shaved and cleaned to prevent infection. This could be the groin or the neck. Sterile sheets are draped over the patient, and a local anesthetic is administered to numb the puncture site. The technician then inserts a small straw-sized tube into the vein in the groin or neck. This tube is called a sheath, and several catheters (usually 3 to 5) are guided into the vein through this. These are then guided to the heart by monitoring their position via a video screen. On reaching the target site, minute electrical impulses are sent to the heart by using the catheters. 
This stimulates the heart to beat at different speeds and reproduce the conditions for which the patient was recommended an EPS. Sometimes, medicines like adrenaline are used to induce cardiac arrhythmia during the study. The impulses produced by the heart are recorded by the catheters and helps to locate the region from where the arrhythmia originates. This process is called cardiac mapping. After completing the procedure, the catheters and IV lines are removed. Firm pressure is applied to the puncture site to prevent bleeding.
Are there any risks involved in it? :
There are no serious problems associated with an EPS. The minor complications that may arise include bleeding and bruising at the puncture site, damage to the blood vessel, and formation of blood clots.
FAQs: Electrophysiology Studies
What preparations are required from the patient?
The patient must not eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before the test. He should notify the doctor if he has a history of any bleeding disorders and is taking medications for it. The physician may advise the patient to stop taking anticoagulants, aspirin, and other medications that affect blood clotting before the test.
How long does it take?
It usually lasts for about 1 to 4 hours.
Who performs Electrophysiology Studies?
The procedure is performed by an electrophysiologist in the electrophysiology lab.
How much does it cost?
The cost of an electrophysiology study is around Rs. 10K to 25K.
When can I go home after the procedure?
The patient will be asked to stay in bed for 4 to 6 hours without moving or bending his legs. After this, he can leave the hospital but must arrange for a ride home as he may feel drowsy after the test.