If you are experiencing an abnormal heartbeat or have had a fainting spell, your cardiovascular specialist at Yuma Regional Medical Center may recommend that you undergo an electrophysiology (EP) study in our state-of-the-art Electrophysiology Lab. This test will record the electrical activity and electrical pathways of your heart and will help your doctor determine the cause of your heart rhythm disturbance and the best treatment for you.
How to prepare for your EP study:
If you are a candidate for an implantable cardioverter/defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker, an EP test may be performed to determine which device is best for you and then further studies may be scheduled to monitor the effectiveness of your device.
An EP study can also indicate if a patient is a candidate for Cardiac Ablation, a procedure used to treat rapid and/or irregular heartbeats. Cardiac Ablation uses radiofrequency energy (similar to microwave heat) to restore the heart’s regular rhythm by destroying a small area of the heart tissue that is causing the irregularities.
- Ask your doctor what medications you are allowed to take as you prepare to take the test. Your doctor may ask you to stop certain medications one to five days beforehand. If you have diabetes, ask your doctor how you should adjust your diabetes medications.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before the EP study. If you must take medications, take them only with a small sip of water.
- Ask a friend or family member to drive you to your appointment. If you are released to return home the same day, you will need someone to drive you.
- Wear comfortable clothes when you come to the hospital. You will change into a hospital gown for the procedure. Leave all jewelry or valuables at home.
What to expect during your EP study:
At the start of the EP study, you will lie on a bed and the nurse will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm or hand. You will be given a drug through your IV to relax you and make you drowsy, but it may not put you totally to sleep. Your nurse will also connect you to several monitors.
An electrophysiologist will then perform the EP study by inserting several catheters that will be used to evaluate the electrical activity in your heart. You may also be given several drugs to assist in this process.
After the procedure, you will need to lie down for several hours, and then your doctor will tell you if you can go home or must stay in the hospital to continue your recovery.
If you have any questions about your EP test or to make an appointment, please call 928-336-7055.