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Electrophysiology Study


An electrophysiology study (EPS) closely monitors your heart rhythm. EPS can help determine exactly what your rhythm problem is and what can be done to control it.

Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento provides exceptional diagnostics for our heart and vascular patients. Our physicians use the latest technology to ensure an accurate diagnosis so we can provide you with the best course of treatment available.

What To Expect During An Electrophysiology Study

An electrophysiology study takes one to four hours. A specially trained doctor (electrophysiologist) performs the procedure in an EPS lab. Here's what to expect:

  • Your doctor will numb the skin with a local anesthetic then make an incision where the catheter will be inserted.
  • Your doctor will then pass one or more catheters through your veins and position them in your heart.
  • The catheters record electrical activity of the heart. They find where and when signals begin and how often they are sent.
  • Other procedures that may be done during the study include defibrillation (electric shock to the heart to help adjust the heart rhythm) and catheter ablation, a procedure that destroys an abnormal electrical pathway or cells in the heart.

Other procedures that may be done during the study include defibrillation (electric shock to the heart to help adjust the heart rhythm) and catheter ablation, a procedure that destroys an abnormal electrical pathway or cells in the heart. After the electrophysiology study, you usually remain in the hospital for several hours or overnight. During that time:

  • You'll need to remain lying down for six to 12 hours
  • If the insertion site was in your groin, you may be asked not to move your leg for several hours
  • A nurse will check the insertion site and your blood pressure

Preparing For An Electrophysiology Study

Always follow any instructions your doctor gives you before the study, including:

  • Have any routine tests that your doctor recommends.
  • Don't eat or drink anything after midnight, the night before the procedure.
  • Remember, always tell your doctor which medications you take. Ask if you should stop taking them before the procedure.

When To Call Your Doctor After A Electrophysiology Study

An electrophysiology study is generally very safe though it does carry some health risks, including the risk of stroke, heart attack, infection, blood clots, arrhythmias, bleeding, injury to the vein and low blood pressure. Always be comfortable talking to your doctor about any possible risk factors.

Call your doctor if:

  • The insertion site has pain, increased swelling, redness, bleeding or drainage
  • You have shortness of breath or angina (chest pain)
  • You have severe pain, coldness, numbness or a bluish color in the leg or arm that held the catheter
  • You have a fever over 100°F

Find a Doctor 

Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and a referral to an AFib specialist. Call 855.623.2734 to find a doctor. Or use our Find a Doctor tool.