Electrophysiological Studies in Williamsport, PA
A heart rhythm test, also known as an electrophysiology study, EPS or EPS study, is a procedure that is used to test the heart’s electrical functions. During an EPS, a catheter is positioned in a vein in either the groin or neck, and threaded to the heart. Using a special type of X-ray, called fluoroscopy, a surgeon guides the catheter into the heart in order to send electrical signals to the heart’s tissue to evaluate the electrical functions in the heart muscle.
Our Health Heart & Vascular Institute offers complete diagnostic testing, including electrophysiology studies, in Williamsport, PA, as part of our cardiology services. To learn more about this test or to schedule an appointment, Find a Provider at UPMC.
Why Electrophysiological Studies Are Performed
An EPS study may be recommended in order to assess the following:
- The effectiveness of medication(s) given to treat a heart rhythm problem
- To evaluate how well a pacemaker is working
- To find the cause of a rhythm problem
- To assess a patient with symptoms of dizziness, weakness, palpitations, fainting or other symptoms if noninvasive procedures haven’t been successful.
Speak with your doctor to see if an EPS study may be right for you.
Types of Heart Rhythm Problems an Electrophysiology Study Can Detect
Doctors at UPMC may suggest an EPS study in order to determine if you have one of the following heart conditions:
- Atrial fibrillation—atria beat irregularly and too fast
- Ventricular fibrillation—ventricles beat irregularly and too fast
- Bradycardia—heart beats too slow
- Tachycardia—heart beats too fast
- Heart block—electrical signal is delayed or blocked
How to Prepare
Your doctor will give you special instructions on what to do before the test. Generally, you should not eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the test. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbs. Don’t stop taking your medications until your doctor tells you to. You’ll need to have someone drive you to the hospital and take you home. If you normally wear a hearing aid, wear it during the procedure. If you wear glasses, bring them with you to the appointment.
What to Expect with Heart Rhythm Tests at UPMC
A electrophysiology study, or heart rhythm test, will be performed in a UPMC hospital and may take anywhere from one to four hours. During the test, a nurse will place an IV (intravenous line) into your arm, allowing a sedative to enter your bloodstream and help you relax. You’ll be awake during the test so you can follow instructions.
Your nurse will clean and shave the area where your doctor will be working (usually in the groin, arm or neck). You’ll be given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the needle will be inserted. A small tube will then be inserted into your artery or vein. Your doctor will guide several catheters into your blood vessel and toward your heart.
Small electrical pulses will be sent through the catheters to make your heart beat at different speeds. The electrical signals produced by your heart will be picked up by the catheters and recorded (called cardiac mapping). This will allow your doctor to see where arrhythmias are coming from. Once the test is complete, the catheters and IV line will be removed and your nurse will bandage the needle site.
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offers the latest in medical technology to diagnose heart conditions, including electrophysiology studies in in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas.