What is an electrophysiology (EP) study?

An electrophysiology (EP) study is a specialized procedure conducted by a highly trained cardiac specialist, the electrophysiologist (also called the “EP doctor” or “EP Specialist”). In this procedure, one or more thin, flexible wires, called catheters, are inserted into a blood vessel (usually in the groin) and guided into the heart by the EP. Each catheter has one or more electrodes to measure the heart’s electrical signals as they travel from one chamber to another.

Cardiac EPs, including Dr. Mathew and Dr. Moretta, do these studies to diagnose your specific condition, to help determine the best treatment, and to pinpoint the site where therapy may be useful. Most of his patients have this EP study done at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, FL, but he also can schedule the study for Venice Regional if that is more convenient for you.

EP Study: What to Expect →

Reports Created from this Test

  • An electrogram, which is like an electrocardiogram (ECG) of the inside of the heart. It shows the abnormal signals — where they start and how they move around inside the heart.
  • A map of the heart’s electrical activity.

In an ECG, sensors are attached to your chest. In an electrogram, the sensors (electrodes) are inside your heart.

The latest technology combines an electrical map of the heart with the patient’s CT or MRI scan. This gives the cardiac EP a three-dimensional view of the patient’s heart. If you do not experience any abnormal rhythms during the EP test, your electrophysiologist can stimulate the arrhythmia with the electrodes on the catheter. They are also used to help evaluate the effectiveness of some medications in controlling the abnormal rhythm and to assess the need for a device such as a pacemaker or defibrillator (also known as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD).

EP studies have been performed safely for many years; complications are very rare.


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