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How the EP Study Is Done

In general terms, the EP study is performed by doing two basic things:

Recording Electrical Signals

Electrode catheters sense electrical activity in various areas of the heart and measure how fast electrical impulses travel.

Pacing the Heart

Electrode catheters can also be used to deliver tiny electrical impulses to pace the heart. By doing so, doctors try to induce (bring on) certain abnormal heart rhythms, so that they can be observed under controlled conditions.

If an arrhythmia is induced, medications may be given through the IV line to test their effect on the heart rhythm.  If arrhythmias cannot be induced after a medication has been given, that medication may prevent similar arrhythmias in the future.

The EP study helps define the exact location of the heart's abnormal electrical activity (this part of the study is called "mapping").  The location and type of arrhythmia you have will help determine the best treatment option for your problem.