Cardiac mapping is an electrophysiology study, or EP study for short, and helps our staff find out what is causing a heart rhythm problem like arrhythmia.
Mapping the electrical activity of the heart is a critical component for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Many advanced therapies (such as ablation for the treatment of arrhythmias) require detailed mapping.
We perform EP studies in the electrophysiology (EP) labs at Lee Health. An electrophysiologist, a cardiologist with special expertise in the heart's electrical systems, will perform your study. We give you medication and a local anesthetic to help you relax. We make a small incision in your thigh or in your neck. We then insert one or more thin, flexible tubes called catheters into the incision and carefully guide them through your blood vessels and to your heart.
The ends of these catheters have tiny electrodes. The electrodes allow the electrophysiologist to gather data about the electrical signals that are flowing through your heart, helping to pinpoint the cause of your problem.
The electrodes can also provide tiny electrical impulses to your heart. We can use the pulses to safely "turn on" an arrhythmia and to identify the problem area.
Your doctor can then test various medications or electrical impulses to see if they are able to "turn off" the arrhythmia, helping to determine the best treatment for you.
In some cases, we will also perform a procedure called an ablation. Ablations can often cure an arrhythmia by painlessly targeting a small region of abnormal tissue inside the heart.
An EP study typically takes about two hours and does not require general anesthesia. Many patients stay awake during the study and sometimes ask questions, while other patients fall asleep.
The EP Lab at Lee Health performs hundreds of cases every year.
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