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Doctor and Patient

Patient Education

What is Electrophysiology?

Electrophysiology Study 

An electrophysiology (EP) study is a test performed to assess your heart's electrical system or activity and is used to diagnose abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia.

The test is performed by inserting catheters and then wire electrodes, which measure electrical activity through blood vessels that enter the heart.

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Why do people have electrophysiology studies?

When someone’s heart doesn’t beat normal, doctors use EPS to find out why.


Electrical signals usually travel through the heart in a regular pattern. Heart attacks, aging and high blood pressure may cause scarring of the heart. This may cause the heart to beat in an irregular (uneven) pattern. Extra abnormal electrical pathways found in certain congenital heart defects can also cause arrhythmias.

During EPS, doctors insert a thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel that leads to your heart. A specialized electrode catheter designed for EP studies lets them send electrical signals to your heart and record its electrical activity.


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Doctors use EPS to see:

  • Where an arrhythmia is coming from.

  • How well certain medicines work to treat your arrhythmia.

  • If they should treat a problem by modifying the place inside your heart that is causing the abnormal electrical signal. This procedure is called catheter ablation.

  • If a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) might help you.

  • If you are at risk for heart problems such as fainting or sudden cardiac death due to cardiac arrest (when your heart stops beating).


During an EPS, about 3 to 5 electrically sensitive catheters are placed inside the heart to record electrical activity.


How can I learn more about Electrophysiology Studies?

Talk with your doctor to find out your treatment options.

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