Electrophysiology Procedures

If your heart has an irregular (uneven) beat or is beating too fast, cardioversion is a way to restore a regular rhythm. Abnormal heart rhythms are called arrhythmias.

There are two kinds of cardioversion. Your doctor may give you one or more medicines to bring back your regular heartbeat. This is called pharmacologic (chemical) cardioversion. Doctors also restore regular rhythms by sending an electrical shock to the heart. This is called electrical cardioversion.

Cryoballoon ablation is a balloon-based technology that blocks the conduction of the arrhythmia in cardiac tissue through the use of a coolant rather than heat, by way of a catheter. This freezing technology allows the catheter to adhere to the tissue during ablation, allowing for greater catheter stability. Cryoablation is a new and alternative method that uses freezing temperatures on targeted areas around the pulmonary veins. This method is favored by many physicians because it can be performed temporarily and tested for effectiveness before the arrhythmia site is scarred permanently.

Electrophysiology studies (EPS) are tests that help doctors understand the nature of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Electrophysiology studies test the electrical activity of your heart to find where an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is coming from.

These results can help you and your doctor decide whether you need medicine, a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), cardiac ablation or surgery.

These studies take place in a special room called an electrophysiology (EP) lab or catheterization (cath) lab while you are mildly sedated.

A non-surgical technique used to treat abnormal heart rhythms. The procedure is performed at the hospital, with sedation and may require an overnight stay.

If you often feel faint or lightheaded, your doctor may use a tilt-table test to find out why. During the test, you lie on a table that is slowly tilted upward. The test measures how your blood pressure and heart rate respond to the force of gravity. A nurse or technician keeps track of your blood pressure and your heart rate (pulse) to see how they change during the test.

Doctors use tilt-table tests to find out why people feel faint or lightheaded or actually completely pass out.

Tilt-table tests can be used to see if fainting is due to abnormal control of heart rate or blood pressure. A very slow heart rate (bradycardia) can cause fainting.

During the test, you lie on a special table that can have your head raised so that it is elevated to 60 to 80 degrees above the rest of your body while a nurse or doctor monitors your blood pressure and heart rate. You may have an IV inserted to give medicine or draw blood.

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a test that produces pictures of your heart. TEE uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make detailed pictures of your heart and the arteries that lead to and from it. Unlike a standard echocardiogram, the echo transducer that produces the sound waves for TEE is attached to a thin tube that passes through your mouth, down your throat and into your esophagus. Because the esophagus is so close to the upper chambers of the heart, very clear images of those heart structures and valves can be obtained.

TEE is a test that uses sound waves to make pictures of your heart’s muscle and chambers, valves and outer lining (pericardium), as well as the blood vessels that connect to your heart.
Doctors often use TEE when they need more detail than a standard echocardiogram can give them.
The sound waves sent to your heart by the probe in your esophagus are translated into pictures on a video screen.
After this test, you may have a mild sore throat for a day or two.