Electrophysiology and electrophysiology testing is a rather new concept and is only recently being studied into great detail. It primarily concentrates on the electrical activity and electrical pathways of the human heart. Some of the other areas of electrophysiology also cover studies of the electrical impulses carried by the nerves. In order to better understand the electrophysiological process, one should be able to understand the basics of electrical signal flow within the human body. Essentially, under normal circumstances, electricity will flow from one cell to another within the heart and in a very predictable pattern. Once this pattern is disrupted – the complications arising include an uneven heartbeat – also known as an arrhythmia. The electrophysiological test is targeted primarily at identifying the cause of the arrhythmia and will involve a number of tests – invasive and non invasive.
Electrophysiology tests are conducted primarily by the doctor having to reproduce the abnormal heart rhythm through the various tests. Once this has been achieved, the doctor is able to analyze the data recorded and prescribe the medication or medical procedures required to correct the problem.
During the commencement of the test, the patient will be asked to lie down on a bed and the nurse will insert an intravenous injection into the arm. This is done in order to provide the body with the required drugs and fluids during the entire procedure of the electrophysiological test. Through the IV, a certain drug that will cause you to feel a little drowsy will be administered – but the drug will not put you to sleep. The patients groin area will then be shaved and cleaned with the help of an antiseptic solution while sterile drapes will be used to cover you from the neck down. Your hands will be prevented from coming in contact with the sterile field by being fasted by soft straps placed across your waist and arms. The groin area will then be numbed and a number of catheters will be inserted into a vein and guided with the help of a fluoroscopy machine towards the heart. A pacemaker will then be used in conjunction with the catheters to generate impulses that will trigger a reaction and altering of signal strength and regularity within the heart. On an average, the test should really take no longer than a couple of hours, but could stretch for a little longer depending on whether other treatments, such as catheter ablation, are required.