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Irregular Heartbeat? You Might Need Electrophysiology Studies (EPS)

Electrophysiology Studies (EPS)

We often associate a fluttering heartbeat with feelings of being in love. Other times, our heart beats rapidly because we’re frightened or watching a suspenseful movie. While everyone experiences their heart “skipping a beat” on occasion, if you endure episodes when your heart’s a-flutter for no apparent reason, you could have an irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia.

Here at Heart Rhythm Associates in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Van De Bruyn specializes in identifying the underlying cause of your irregular heartbeat and helping you take the necessary precautions to keep your heart beating at a regular, steady pace. If you notice an irregular heartbeat more than once in a while, you might need electrophysiology studies (EPS).

Why an electrophysiology study may be necessary

When you have an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, your heart either beats too slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia) or in an erratic way.

Dr. De Bruyn often recommends an EPS test to assist him in determining what may be causing your irregular heartbeat and from where it originates within your heart. An electrophysiology study can also predict your risk of sudden cardiac death, so essentially, this test may help save your life.

Electrophysiology studies measure electrical signals in your heart

The EPS is a form of testing that measures the electrical signals and how they travel through your heart. When your heart doesn’t beat in a regular, steady rhythm at the optimal rate, it can signify an area of scar tissue from a previous heart attack or due to high blood pressure. You may even have abnormal electrical pathways, or even extra ones, as a result of congenital heart defects.

Dr. De Bruyn conducts electrophysiology studies so he can record the electrical signals and find the origination of the arrhythmia. He may also see how well certain medications work to treat the arrhythmia. The EPS can help Dr. De Bruyn determine if he needs to treat a problem inside your heart, such as destroying the bit of tissue that’s causing an abnormal heartbeat.

A catheter ablation, as it’s called, is a low-risk procedure in which Dr. De Bruyn destroys abnormal heart tissue to help restore a regular heart rhythm. It is sometimes necessary when medications aren’t effective at restoring your heartbeat to a regular, steady rate.

Electrophysiology studies also provide information for Dr. De Bruyn regarding if a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be able to help control your arrhythmia. The study indicates whether or not you’re at risk of fainting or sudden cardiac death because your heart stops beating.

Other reasons you may need EPS include syncope — a temporary loss of consciousness — or if you’re preparing for heart surgery.

When you should be concerned about an irregular heartbeat

You may not have symptoms, other than feeling your heart racing, but certain types of arrhythmias may also cause symptoms such as:

Seek immediate medical attention if you suddenly experience these symptoms or they occur frequently.

Dr. De Bruyn takes his time to explain your specific heart condition, the electrophysiology studies, and any other necessary medications and procedures so you fully understand your testing and treatment.

If you live in Little Rock or the surrounding areas of Central Arkansas and think you’ve noticed an irregular heartbeat, don’t delay. Schedule an appointment at Heart Rhythm Associates to find out if you can benefit from electrophysiology studies.

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