Electrophysiology involves tests performed on the heart to assess its rhythm or activity. Electrophysiology is normally used in diagnosing abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia. This process is performed by inserting catheters followed by wire electrodes, which help in measuring electrical activity through blood vessels that enter the human heart. An electrophysiology procedure (EP) involves a small intravenous (IV) catheter being inserted into a patient’s vein.
When performing an electrophysiology procedure, patients need to be placed on an X-ray machine. Television screens, cameras, and heart monitors must be turned off. Electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest and back to connect to the monitoring equipment, and a blood pressure cuff is placed on the patient’s upper arm to help in monitoring blood pressure. One or several catheters (flexible, long and thin wires) are inserted into a large vein in the neck or groin. The purpose for the catheters is to record the heart’s electrical signals in order to assess its electrical function and to stimulate the heart to cause some abnormal rhythms, which can be observed under controlled conditions. Drugs can sometimes be used to stimulate the patient’s arrhythmia.
An electrophysiology procedure can diagnose heart rhythm abnormalities in several ways. A physician may intentionally stimulate an abnormal rhythm during an electrophysiological study to help identify a problem. The abnormal heartbeat can also be stimulated to monitor the effectiveness of a drug. During the procedure, a doctor may map the spread of electrical impulses to locate the source of an abnormal heartbeat or arrhythmia. In case the location is identified, an ablation (removal of the heart tissue responsible for the abnormality) may be done. Other procedures that may be used in assessing the heart include chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), cardiac CT scans, Holter monitors, computed topography (CT scan), cardiac catheterization, myocardial perfusions scans, echocardiography, radionuclide angiography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Electrophysiological procedures may require the use of cardiovascular medications. Pharmacy Coupons has several offers on this type of drug and can offer the patient a bargain. Some of the heart drugs on offer include beta-blockers, diuretics, vasodilators and calcium channel blockers.