An EP study is an invasive procedure often done on a day-patient basis. It focuses on diagnosing the source of the patient’s complaints and localizing the problem to a particular part of the heart. The results of the EP study determine the next step (ablation, pacemaker, defibrillator or medical therapy).
During an EP study, the patient comes to a special room equipped with Xray equipment and special recording equipment. In the room there is a nurse, the doctor and two EP techs. Using sterile technique, conscious sedation using intravenous medications and local anesthesia, sterile wires are passed under Xray guidance into particular locations within the heart. These wires are able to pace the heart and to record the heart’s response.
When the procedure is complete (usually within 40 minutes to an hour if no other procedures are needed), the patient comes back to the day patient area to recover. Recovery from this procedure takes between 3 to 6 hours depending on the physician’s judgement.
EP studies are safe procedures. They are done hundreds of times each year at the New Mexico Heart Institute by experienced EP physicians.