Electrophysiology (EP) is a field within cardiology that focuses on the electrical activity of the heart and treating arrhythmias.
Here are some common procedures and devices as a point of reference to help you understand their purpose in your overall treatment plan:
electrophysiology (EP) study
An electrophysiology (EP) study is a procedure that is performed by inserting catheters with wire electrodes into the heart. These catheters are able to measure and sense cardiac electrical activity to identify the type and the origin of various arrhythmias.
A catheter ablation is a procedure that can be performed to treat some types of arrhythmia. Once the type and origin of an arrhythmia is identified (electrical mapping), a catheter can use heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryo-ablation) energy to induce scarring of the abnormal tissue and eliminate the arrhythmia to return the heart to a normal rhythm.
A pacemaker is a small device that is surgically placed under the skin under your collar bone. Small wires from the pacemaker are inserted into the heart and can deliver an electric impulse to “pace” the heart in patients who have very slow heart beats. The pacemaker can also receive and record information about your heart rate and rhythm.
Automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
An automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD): is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate. Thin wires connect the AICD to your heart. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat if your heart is beating chaotically and much too fast. The device also can function as a back-up pacemaker.
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