What Is EPS (Electrophysiology Study)?

An electrophysiology study or EPS helps a doctor assess and evaluate abnormal or irregular heartbeats known as cardiac arrhythmia in medical terms.  An arrhythmia occurs when the electrical impulses within the heart don’t function properly, causing it to beat too fast or too slow. While a slow heartbeat is called bradycardia, an extremely fast beat is referred to as tachycardia. It is accompanied by symptoms that range from palpitations, chest pain, light-headedness, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, sweating and fainting. Arrhythmias may produce no symptoms or lead to sudden death.

Role Of EPS

Monitoring and assessment play a key role in the detection and management of arrhythmias. EPS focuses on studying the electrical activity of the heart to determine the origin of the abnormal heartbeat. It helps evaluate the heart’s timing or electrical system and in diagnosing and treating irregular heartbeats. An EPS can also be used to predict the risk of sudden cardiac death. The study involves placing diagnostic catheters within one’s heart and specialised tests are undertaken to map the electrical currents. The assessment helps the doctor determine the most suited method of treatment for the patient. Arrhythmias can be treated through medication, implantation of a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), cardiac ablation (scar the origination points of the abnormal heartbeat) or surgery.

Eps Is Used For The Following

  • Detecting the foci or origin of an abnormal heartbeat.
  • To determine the risk of sudden cardiac death due to cardiac arrest as a consequence of sudden cardiac arrest which occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, which stops oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain and other organs.
  • Deciding upon the best-suited treatment.
  • Assessing the efficiency of certain medications for treating arrhythmias.

Side-Effects Of EPS

  • EPS is an extremely safe procedure and is done as a day-care. Physicians will be explaining all the pros and cons situated with the treatment of arrhythmias. 
  • And if the type and location of the arrhythmia are identified and appropriate therapy is decided upon, the cardiac ablation or insertion of a pacemaker or ICD may be performed during or immediately after the EPS.

Points To Remember While Undergoing EPS

A patient should be aware of the following while undergoing an EPS procedure:

  • EPS is a diagnostic test that leads to the detection of arrhythmias and decides the further treatment. It also helps the doctor understand the nature of abnormal heart rhythms.
  • It helps to decide whether the patient needs medicines, ablation, pacemaker or device.
  • The results are immediately available during the study itself and so the course of treatment is also decided immediately.
  • This diagnostic study only needs minimal hospitalisation, say from 4 to 8 hours.
  • During the study, the patient is mildly sedated.
  • It does not include any dye injections inside the patient’s body.
  • It is a safe procedure.