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Electrophysiology (EP) Study

UPMC in central Pa. cardiologists use electrophysiology studies to diagnose heart rhythm problems.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your EP study?

When you choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your EP study, you will receive expert care from some of the region's most experienced cardiologists who diagnose and treat all types of irregular heart rhythms.

Our physicians perform hundreds of EP studies each year using the latest diagnostic technology and techniques. And, if you require additional cardiovascular care, the specialists at UPMC in Central Pa. have the skills and experience needed to perform advanced cardiovascular procedures and offer you the latest treatment options.

What is an EP study?

An EP study maps the electrical activity within your heart and is performed when your symptoms or diagnostic tests suggest there is a problem with the rhythm of your heartbeat. The problem can be a fast heart rhythm (tachycardia), a slow heart rhythm (bradycardia), or another type of arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm).

What happens during an EP study?

A specially trained doctor called an electrophysiologist will perform your EP study in an electrophysiology lab. After you receive a local anesthetic to numb the insertion site and a sedative to help you relax, one or more catheters will be inserted into your veins – usually through your groin – and passed through your body to your heart. The catheters record the electrical activity of your heart, such as when and where electrical signals begin and how often they are sent. The study can take several hours.

Other procedures may be performed during this study, including:

What can I expect after an EP study?

After the catheters are removed, your medical team will apply pressure to the insertion site for several minutes to help stop the bleeding. You must remain lying down for 4-6 hours and refrain from moving the limb where the catheter was inserted. Your medical team will need to monitor your blood pressure and check the insertion site frequently, so you will need to remain in the hospital for several hours, or possibly overnight. It is very important that you follow your discharge instructions and take good care of your insertion site.

How long does it take to recover after an EP study?

Talk to your doctor about when you can resume normal activities or return to work. You may be instructed not to drive for a certain amount of time after the procedure, so you may need to arrange for someone to drive you home. It also is very important that you see your doctor for follow-up visits as recommended. You should call your doctor if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, including:

  • Pain, redness, bleeding, drainage, or increased swelling at the insertion site
  • Burning or pain in your chest
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Severe pain, coldness, numbness, or discoloration in the limb where the catheter was inserted
  • A fever of more than 100.0°F
  • New or increasing shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing, throat pain, or bloody cough
  • Redness or rash on your chest or back

If any of these symptoms are severe, you should call 911 immediately.

Need more information?

Call UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at: 717-731-0101

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UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Outpatient Services at UPMC Memorial
1703 Innovation Drive
Suite 4120
York, PA 17408

Heart and Vascular: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

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