If you’ve ever experienced an abnormally high heart rate, you know that it can feel scary. It can feel like you’re sprinting at full speed when, in reality, you aren’t even moving. On the flip side, you may have experienced a slow heartbeat and may not have noticed.
These two heart conditions — tachycardia and bradycardia, respectively — can be signs of underlying health conditions. But they aren’t the only ones.
Other abnormal heartbeats, including palpitations and atrial fibrillation, can indicate heart problems. An EP study, which Dr. Hesham Fakhri can conduct onsite at Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute can uncover those conditions.
What’s an EP study?
“EP” stands for electrophysiology — you can see why we abbreviate it. Electrophysiology is a branch of physiology that studies the electrical properties of your body. An EP study, specifically, looks at the electrical activity of your heart.
These tests help Dr. Fakhri determine if you have an arrythmia (irregular heartbeat). If you do have an irregular heartbeat, an EP study helps Dr. Fakhri determine what type of irregular heartbeat — too fast, too slow, skipping beats, etc. — and develop an appropriate treatment plan. For example, if you need a pacemaker, an EP study lets Dr. Fakhri know that.
How do EP studies work?
During an EP study, Dr. Fakhri inserts thin wires, via a small catheter, into a vein somewhere on your body, usually in the groin but sometimes in the neck. He uses a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy to thread the wire electrodes to your heart.
Once the electrodes are in your heart, they measure the electrical activity coming from your heart muscle. As your heart beats and sends electrical signals, Dr. Fakhri maps out your heart’s impulses.
Who needs an EP study?
Dr. Fakhri may recommend that you undergo an EP study if he suspects you have a heart problem or if he already knows you have a heart problem and thinks an EP study may help him figure out the root cause.
Some common reasons for undergoing EP studies include:
- To get additional information on abnormally fast or slow heart rates (tachycardia and bradycardia)
- To uncover the cause of symptoms that are often heart-related, such as fainting spells, dizziness, and palpitations
- To find the location of a source of a heart problem
- To determine whether medications prescribed to control heart rhythm are working
- If you are preparing to undergo heart surgery
- If you have a risk of sudden heart death
If you’ve experienced heart-related symptoms like the ones described above, or think you might need an EP study for another reason, schedule a consultation appointment today. Call us at one of our two Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute locations. You can also request an appointment online at your preferred location.