Catheters are used in a multitude of ways in the medical field today. They can range from urinary purposes for urine drainage to EP catheters to monitor and evaluate the heart’s electrical network. Regarding EP catheters, these tools have had many innovations to allow us to obtain much more information than in years past. This testing is performed by inserting the catheter with electrodes into blood vessels that lead to the heart. Medical experts can see what arrhythmias are present, the risk for heart conditions, how certain medications can affect current heart problems, and whether catheter ablation may be needed.
The first step in an EP study is to put an IV in your arm to relax you via a sedative. The area of the body where the incision for the catheter will take place is cleaned and potentially shaven. An anesthetic will be used to numb the insertion point, where a sheath, a small tube, will be placed into the vein or artery. At this point, multiple EP catheters will be directed through the body until they reach the heart. The medical expert guiding the catheter will utilize a fluoroscope that can show the position of the catheter as it travels through the body. Pulses of electricity are used to make the heart beat at different rates, and these pulses are recorded in a process called cardiac mapping. After all the data is recorded, the catheter and IV will be removed to finish the procedure. In total, the EP study can range from one to four hours in total. Before undertaking this procedure, consider health issues that may harm you from an EP study.