Who benefits from an EP study?
Many arrhythmias are transient and difficult to capture in the hospital or your physician's office with a 12-lead EKG. Outpatient ambulatory monitoring techniques including Holter and Event monitors, can increase the chances of capturing an EKG strip of the arrhythmia for further clarification. However, in many patients the arrhythmia proves elusive and they are referred for an EP study. Other patients have clearly documented arrhythmias and elect, or are referred for, an EP study in the following situations:
- Smptomatic arrhythmias despite medications
- Intolerance of medications (side effects) and prefer a curative catheter ablation
- Prefer a curative catheter ablation first-line to avoid medications, or secondary to occupational risks (pilots, public servants - police, fireman, etc)
- Risk stratification for Sudden cardiac death in the presence of structural heart disease or clinically documented arrhythmias (to determine a need for an ICD)
- Assess the need for a permanent pacemaker
These studies take place in a special room called an electrophysiology (EP) lab while you are mildly sedated.
Your recovery post-procedure is generally uneventful. The catheters are removed after the procedure, typically in the EP lab. You will be transferred to the hospital recovery area where you will be monitored until you are fully awake and chatting with your family and physician. You will typically be instructed to maintain your leg straight for at least 4-6 hours after the catheters are removed to limit the possibility of developing any bleeding from the catheter site and to allow for the incision site to heal. You will typically be allowed to go home the day of an uncomplicated EP study. If you undergo a curative catheter ablation or a device implant during the same procedural day, you will likely need to plan to stay overnight in the hospital for further observation.
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