Electrophysiological Study & Catheter Ablation

Electrophysiological Study (EPS) is a diagnostic test that records the electrical activity from inside your heart.

This test is usually performed to identify the cause of your heart rhythm problem, especially if you have episodes of an abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia). If you have a tachycardia, your cardiologist might recommend that you have Catheter Ablation performed at the same time as EPS.

These procedures are performed in a special laboratory (called a "Cath Lab" or "Catheter Suite" or “Angiography Suite”) at St John of God Hospital. A day admission is often appropriate, but your cardiologist may recommend an overnight stay.

Carrying out a study

The procedure can be performed under sedation but sometimes a general anaesthetic will be advised. The procedure takes a variable duration of time. No special preparation is required, but you must fast for at least 6 hours prior to the procedure. You may be asked by your cardiologist to stop some of your medications before being admitted to hospital.

EPS catheters will be passed into your heart via a needle puncture into a vein, either in your groin (Femoral Vein), or elbow (Brachio-Cephalic Vein), or neck (Internal Jugular Vein and Sub-Clavian Vein).

It may be necessary to use a combination of these sites. After the catheters have been positioned, a number of recordings are made of the heart's electrical activity and a series of electrical stimulation tests are performed to help initiate your tachycardia. This enables the precise localisation of the tachycardia circuit prior to Catheter Ablation of the abnormal electrical pathway.

During Catheter Ablation, a specialised catheter is used to deliver a radio-frequency pulse at the site of the abnormal pathway. This creates a localised lesion that can permanently block the pathway from conducting your tachycardia.