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These services are performed at:

Electrophysiology (EP) Laboratory

Normally, electricity flows throughout the heart in a regular fashion. Any problem along the electrical pathway causes an arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disturbance. By diagnosing the precise cause of an arrhythmia, it is possible to select the best treatment. Treatment may include pacemakers, defibrillators, medications or an ablation (elimination of the abnormal tissue)

EP studies most often are recommended for patients with symptoms indicative of heart rhythm disorders or for people who may be at risk for sudden cardiac death. Although some arrhythmias don't cause any symptoms, others are quite distinct, such as the feeling of your heart "racing". Palpitations, skipped heart beats, lightheadedness, dizziness and fatigue could all be indicative of arrhythmias.

What patients can expect during an Electrophysiology study

During an EP study, the electrophysiolgist will try to "provoke" arrhythmia events and collect data about the flow of electricity. By doing this, the appropriate treatment can then be recommended.

A common term for heart rhythm disturbance is arrhythmia.

Arrhythmia is commonly found in young, healthy individuals whose heartbeat suddenly takes off at 200 beats per minute. They feel like they're going to pass out. Then, suddenly, it stops. This can happen for one of several reasons:

  • As electrical activity passes through a relay station -- the atrioventricular node -- the heartbeat starts in another part of the heart
  • The sinus node -- or the heart's pacemaker -- develops an abnormal heart rate
  • A block occurs in the heart's electrical system