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Home » Services » ACI Cath Lab » Electrophysiology » EP Studies and Ablation

EP Studies and Ablation

Electrophysiology Study

If you have been diagnosed with certain types of arrhythmia, your doctor may refer you to have a more detailed study of the cause of the arrhythmia, this test is called an electrophysiology study. The electrophysiology study is done in a special cath lab called an electrophysiology lab. The aim of the test is to internally map out the electrical pathways in the heart with an aim of finding any abnormal pathways or “short circuits” that may be causing the arrhythmia.

Similar to an angiogram an electrophysiology study uses thin plastic tubes called catheters inserted through a small puncture site in the skin into a blood vessel in the arm or leg and then guided by X-ray images up to the heart. Once in place, special electrodes are passed up through the catheter to record ECG signals directly from the heart. In this way a detailed electrical mapping of the heart can be done. The electrodes can also be used to send small electrical impulses to the heart to see if the doctor can trigger the same pathways that cause the arrhythmia and therefore precisely determine the cause of the irregular heart beat.

 3D Electroanatomic Mapping

ACI is the first country in the English speaking Caribbean to have a new advanced electrophysiology technology called 3D electroanatomic mapping.  This technology allows the doctor to view the electrical signals in the heart in a three dimensional view in relation to the anatomy of the heart chambers. This allows the doctor to precisely pinpoint the exact origins of abnormal rhythms. The doctor can also see the location of the catheters in relation to the mapped electrical anatomy of the heart and therefore can target treatments more precisely and also can do treatment without x-ray fluoroscopy therefore reducing radiation to the patient. 3D Mapping is especially useful for a type of treatment called Pulmonary Vein Isolation which is used in the treatment of certain types of Atrial Fibrillation.  It is also very useful in complex arrhythmia treatments.

Catheter Ablation

Catheter ablation is a modern technique for permanently eliminating abnormal electrical signal pathways in the heart and thereby potentially provide a cure for certain types of abnormal heartbeats. It is usually used to treat symptomatic fast heart rates (tachycardia) especially those that occur frequently and which would otherwise require long-term drug therapy to keep the condition under control.

Catheter ablation is usually done in conjunction with an Electrophysiology Study (EP Study). The EP study, as described above, is used to pinpoint the area in the heart which is causing the arrhythmia. Once this has been identified, then in the catheter ablation procedure, a special catheter is directed to that precise location and radiofrequency energy is applied thereby eliminating the area of tissue which is causing the “short circuits” of the electrical impulses. In this way the abnormal heart beat can be eliminated.

ACI was the first centre in Trinidad and Tobago to perform EP Studies, Catheter Ablation and 3D Electroanatomic mapping for treating cardiac rhythm issues and have the most experience in the English speaking Caribbean. 

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