What are electrophysiology tests?
If there is still nothing to see on the Holter report and the cardiologist still suspects that you have a rhythm or conduction problem, he may also have electrophysiology tests carried out. This is the most accurate and reliable way of assessing the heart rhythm and diagnosing specific rhythm problems.
After discussion with your doctor, preparatory tests such as blood tests, an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram are arranged.
How are electrophysiology tests carried out?
Electrophysiology testing is a minimally invasive procedure. So it is not an operation. An electrophysiologist only needs a number of thin wires called catheters to carry out the tests. These catheters are inserted in a blood vessel in the groin crease and advanced as far as the heart. This allows the electrophysiologist to measure the electrical activity of the heart and also to regulate the heartbeat in the same way as a pacemaker does. Thanks to these measurements and pacing activities, the type and location of the rhythm problem can be worked out.
You will probably feel palpitations during the tests, but that is completely normal during electrophysiology tests.
After the procedure the catheters will be removed and you must stay in bed for at least four hours to minimise the risk of bruising from the place where the catheters were inserted. If the needle has been inserted in an artery rather than a vein, you will need to remain lying down for longer.
Meanwhile the nurse will monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure and the place where the needle was inserted in the groin (or neck) will be checked regularly.
When the nurse gives you permission to get up and after the doctor providing your treatment has discussed the results with you, you can go home. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or need information about practical formalities, you can talk to the lead nurse about this.
Back to work
You can usually resume your normal activities 24 hours after the test or treatment. If you were unfit for work before the test or treatment, you must discuss with the doctor when you can go back to work. For some patients the doctor can decide that going back to work is permanently impossible due to the nature of the problem.