Electrophysiology Study

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

An electrophysiology study involves putting catheters (small, thin wires) into the heart through the arm, neck or groin to find abnormal heart rhythms.  Abnormal heart rhythms, also called arrhythmias, can cause a variety of symptoms from palpitations to fainting.  Some of the symptoms may be lifestyle-limiting or no longer controlled by medication.

The electrophysiology study allows the doctor to look at normal electrical function in the heart and test to see if your symptoms may be caused by an abnormal rhythm.  Many electrophysiology studies are done along with a catheter ablation to also treat the abnormal rhythm. Our doctors discuss the risks, side effects, and complications with our patients before the procedure.

How to Prepare for a Electrophysiology Study 

Your doctor will instruct you to not eat or drink, usually after midnight, before your procedure and will tell you what medications to stop or take before your procedure. Patients usually arrive at the hospital several hours before the procedure so laboratory tests, IV's, history, and medication review can be completed prior to your procedure.

If you are not having another procedure done along with the electrophysiology study, most patients may go home the same day.  You may be able to return to work after 24 hours or slightly longer depending on your doctor's instructions.

What to Expect During a Electrophysiology Study 

The procedure room is a cool temperature and full of equipment.  The table is narrow and the staff will assist you into a comfortable position on the table.  The staff will explain all the preparations as they get you ready for the procedure.  You will have your groin or neck prepared with special soap to help prevent infections.  A surgical drape is used to keep you covered during the procedure.

The doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the puncture sites before putting the catheters in.  You will also receive a light sedation to keep you relaxed and sleepy during the study.  You may feel your heart racing at times as we test your heart to find an abnormal rhythm.  Staff may also give you some medications during the procedure to try and help the doctor find the abnormal rhythm.

Recovery after the Electrophysiology Study 

You will be awake and talking at the end of the procedure.  The catheters are placed in the heart through puncture sites in the groin, arm or neck.  The staff will remove the catheters and hold pressure on the puncture sites at the end of the procedure.  You will have some soreness the next few days at the puncture sites.  You may see a small amount of bruising around the puncture sites that will go away.  You will be instructed on care of your puncture sites before you go home and any possible complications to watch for.

You will be on bed rest to allow the puncture sites to start healing.  Most procedures require 2 - 4 hours of bed rest.  Staff will also instruct you on preventing complications at the puncture sites.

Some patients may be able to go home the same day.  Due to the sedation, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first 24 hours to watch for any problems.  More complex procedures will require at least an overnight stay or longer.  Your physician will discuss this with you before the procedure.  You may be able to return to work within a day or so or longer depending on your type of procedure.  Your doctor will talk to you about this.  You may be given a mild pain medication to help with soreness at the puncture sites. 

Your doctor will also talk to you or leave instructions about what medications to continue, start or stop after your procedure.  You will also have instructions on follow-up appointments.

Why Choose Aurora for Electrophysiology Studies?

The physicians at Aurora Healthcare have been doing electrophysiology studies for many years. The staff who assist the physician during the procedures also have special training and many years of experience in working with patients who require electrophysiology studies. 

Aurora doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or vascular specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.