An electrocardiogram records your heart's electrical activity. During this test, several electrodes are placed on your chest, arms and legs. The electrical activity of your heart is recorded on paper. The physician will interpret the electrocardiogram.
The Holter/event monitor is a small device that you wear 24 hours a day for up to several days. This small device records the electrical activity of your heart with electrodes. As you feel symptoms, you will push a button on the device to record that specific event. After the recording period is complete, the physician will interpret the data on the recorder.
Echocardiography, also called an echo, is a test that takes "moving pictures of the heart" with sound waves. The test usually does not hurt; however, you may feel pressure when the technologist is pressing on your chest to obtain the images. X-rays are not used for these pictures.
You will lie on a bed or stretcher on your back or your left side. The technologist will put gel on a probe and move it over your chest area. Ultra-high-frequency sound waves will pick up images of your heart and valves. Your heart's movements can be seen on a video screen. Digital images are made of the pictures. You can sometimes watch the screen during your test if you want. The test usually takes 20-30 minutes. There are no side effects.
Tilt Table Test
You may have a tilt table test for fainting problems. During the test, you will lie on a special table that rises up at different angles. Your heart rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm will be monitored during the test.
Electrophysiology Test (EP Study)
An EP study allows the physician to record and interpret the electrical activity of the heart at a more in-depth level. During an EP study, the physician can better identify certain arrhythmias. Specialized electrode catheters are used to record the electrical activity of your heart.
Prior to the EP Study:
- Provide a list of your medications to the physician.
- Don't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure.
- You may have blood drawn for the procedure.
- You will have your groin, back and chest shaved for the procedure.
- A nurse will start an IV (intravenous access).
- You may have a Foley catheter inserted in your bladder.
- You will be asked to sign a consent form for the physician to perform the procedure.
During the EP Study:
You will lie on a table for 2-6 hours, depending on what type of study needs to be done.
You will be given medication for moderate sedation; during the procedure you may be awake but comfortable.
Multiple electrodes will be placed on your chest, arms, legs and back.
Your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and heart rhythm will be monitored during the procedure.
You will be covered with a sterile drape.
Your groin area will be numbed with local anesthetic to obtain intravenous access; at this point you may feel pressure.
The specialized electrode catheters are placed in your heart to record your electrical activity.
You may be given medication to speed up your heart rate.
|After the EP Study:
The specialized catheters will be removed from your heart.
The IV access catheter will be removed from the vein in your groin, and manual pressure will be held on your groin for at least 10 minutes. This is to ensure hemostasis (no bleeding).
You will be on bed rest and monitored by a nurse for at least 4 hours after the manual pressure.
Your physician will discuss the results of the procedure with you.
Depending on the results of your procedure, you may go home or you may spend the night in the hospital.
At discharge, you will be given specific instructions from your physician. The nurse will provide this information to you.