Skip to Content

Electrophysiology Study


An electrophysiology study (EPS) is a test to show the electrical activity in your heart. Your heart's electrical system controls your heartbeat. A problem with your heart's electrical system may lead to abnormal heartbeats. EPS helps healthcare providers find the area in your heart causing abnormal heartbeats.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia is medicine to make you comfortable during the procedure. Healthcare providers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. You may get anesthesia through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
    • Local anesthesia is a shot of medicine put into the skin where the catheter is inserted. It is used to numb the area and dull the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure.

During your procedure:

  • A catheter with wires will be put into an artery or vein in your groin or chest. The catheter will be moved through your blood vessel into your heart. The wires will be placed on certain areas of your heart. The catheter will record the electrical activity of your heart. Healthcare providers may send electrical signals through the catheter to make abnormal heartbeats.
  • Healthcare providers may use the catheter to remove heart tissue that is causing the abnormal heartbeats. This is called ablation. Once healthcare providers record enough information from your heart, the catheter will be removed. A bandage will cover the area where the catheter was put in.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. You will need to lie still with your leg straight for about 2 hours. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your hospital room.


  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may bruise or swell where the catheter was put in. You may have lower back and leg pain. You may have irregular heartbeats that make you dizzy or faint. The catheter may cause damage to your nerves or heart valves. Fluid or blood may build up around your heart, making it hard for your heart to beat. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. If a blood clot travels to your lungs, you may have trouble breathing. You could have a heart attack. These problems can be life-threatening.
  • If you do not have an EPS, you may not learn the cause of your abnormal heartbeats. You may not get proper treatment. Your symptoms, such as chest pain and trouble breathing, may get worse. You may become weak, have dizziness, and faint often. Abnormal heartbeats can cause your heart to stop. This can be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.