Your heart is responsible for regulating blood flow through your body, so when your heart is pumping too fast, too slow, or erratically, it’s important to find out why. At his offices in Los Angeles and Torrance, California, board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist Ibrahim Helmy, MD, FACC, FACP, performs electrophysiology studies (EPS) to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias. To schedule an EPS, call or click today.
The purpose of electrophysiology studies (EPS) is to find out what’s causing your abnormal heartbeat, also known as an arrhythmia. When you have a normal heartbeat, your heart sends out electrical signals in a regular rhythm, signaling for your heart muscle to contract. If you have an abnormal heartbeat, the rhythm of this electrical activity is too fast, too slow, or irregular.
During an EPS, Dr. Helmy stimulates your heart with electrical signals to reproduce the abnormal rhythm and records your heart’s electrical activity. This helps him determine where your arrhythmia comes from and how best to treat it. If you’re undergoing a catheter ablation to correct your arrhythmia, Dr. Helmy may first conduct an EPS to pinpoint the treatment area.
EPS can also evaluate how well treatment for arrhythmia is working or diagnose symptoms such as dizziness and fainting, which sometimes result from heart rhythm problems.
An EPS involves inserting an electrically sensitive catheter, or thin flexible tube, into a blood vessel leading to your heart. This blood vessel is usually in your groin, but Dr. Helmy may insert the catheter through your arm or neck.
Before your EPS begins, you receive a sedative through an IV to help you relax and a local anesthetic to numb the area where the catheter enters. During the procedure, however, you’re awake and alert enough to ask questions and follow instructions.
With the help of X-ray imaging, Dr. Helmy gently advances the catheter toward your heart.
Once the catheter is in place, Dr. Helmy sends electrical pulses to your heart. When this happens, you may notice your heart beating faster or more strongly. The catheter records electrical activity coming from your heart, including its location.
The test takes one to four hours. To prepare for EPS, you can’t drink or eat anything for six to eight hours before the test, and Dr. Helmy may require you to stop taking certain medications for the day.
Most people return to work and resume normal activities the day after an EPS but be sure to arrange for a ride home after the procedure.
The EPS test helps determine the reason for your abnormal heart condition. Following the procedure and your recovery, Dr. Helmy discusses the results of your EPS and best treatment options at a follow-up appointment. Treatment may include:
To schedule an EPS and discover the best treatment option for your irregular heartbeat, call or use the online booking tool today.