An electrophysiology (EP) study (ablation procedure) is an invasive test to assess the heart’s electrical pathways. It’s used to identify causes of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and to provide therapies (called ablation) to fix abnormalities in the electrical system of the heart.
What you can expect
In this safe and controlled setting, your doctor intentionally will try to reproduce the abnormal rhythm. The process of an EP study involves the following:
- An EP study is performed in the cardiac catheterization (cath) lab in a hospital.
- In the cath lab, your child will be asked to lie down flat on a table.
- In children, the procedure is generally performed with your child completely asleep (general anesthesia). Your child will be given a local anesthetic or numbing medicine at the site where the catheters will be placed. A mild sedative may also be given to minimize discomfort.
- Your child’s doctor will use special thin, flexible tubes (catheters) to insert into the blood vessels in your child’s leg and neck. These catheters sense the small electrical currents within the heart. Special ablation catheters can heat or freeze the abnormal areas of heart tissue to alter the ability of these areas to create arrhythmias.
- After the procedure, your child can return home and resume normal daily activities unless instructed otherwise.
If the EP study is successful, most children will no longer need medications to control their abnormal heart rhythms.
Children's Heart Health
Information for parents of children with pediatric heart conditions. Read more about conditions, tests, and treatments for congenital heart disease.