The Beat of Your Heart
Your heart beats about 100,000 times every day, pumping some 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body.
If for some reason the beat of your heart goes awry, the Heart & Vascular Institute features two state-of-the-art electrophysiology labs with a group of medical professionals who are here to help you.
Electrophysiology studies are tests that help your doctor understand an abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia. Our doctors have advanced tools at their hands to help them identify what might be causing your heart to beat improperly. In fact, we were one of the first hospitals in Florida to offer the CARTO 3 System, one of the most sophisticated tools to allow us a more precise image of the problem and shorter procedure times.
With exceptional tools like these, we may be able to help prevent heart problems such as fainting from an irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest (when your heart stops beating).
What You Can Expect
If you find yourself in one of our electrophysiology lab, or EP lab, a nurse will put an IV (intravenous line) into your arm and you’ll be given a mild sedative. A nurse will clean and shave the area where the doctor will be working, usually in the upper thigh area, arm or neck.
You will be given a shot to numb the area, and a small tube called a sheath will be inserted into your artery or vein where several special catheters can be advanced your heart. Small electric pulses will be sent through the catheters to make your heart beat stronger or faster. The electrical activity happening in your heart will be recorded, allowing us to pinpoint the problem. You may feel some pressure in the area where the sheath was inserted, but you should not experience any pain.
If a problem is identified, we can insert a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator to help your heartbeat remain regular, or perform cardiac ablation, a procedure to destroy the area that is causing the irregular electrical signal. This may be done during the study, or sometimes immediately afterwards.
The test usually lasts anywhere from one to four hours. You should be allowed to go home the same day but will not be able to drive or return to regular activities for about a day. The puncture site may be sore for several days.