What is an electrophysiology study?

An electrophysiology study (EP study) is a detailed evaluation of the electrical activity in your heart. We use cardiac catheters and computers to create electrocardiogram (EKG) tracings and electrical measurements from inside your heart.

During the test, your cardiologist may safely reproduce your abnormal heart rhythm, then give you medications to see which one best controls the rhythm.

Your doctor uses the EP study to:

  • Find out what is causing your abnormal heart rhythm (also called arrhythmia or dysrhythmia)
  • Determine where in your heart the abnormal heart rhythm begins
  • Decide which treatment is best for your abnormal heart rhythm

Why do I need this test?

Your doctor may recommend an EP study when other tests, such as a standard EKG, Holter monitor, event recorder, stress test, echo or angiogram cannot provide enough information to thoroughly evaluate your abnormal heart rhythm.

What are the risks?

The procedure is performed in an electrophysiology laboratory under controlled clinical circumstances. The procedure is performed by cardiologists and nurses who specialize in electrophysiology.

An EP study is generally a very safe procedure. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks. Please talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Reviewed: 09/13
This information is about testing and procedures and may include instructions specific to Cleveland Clinic. Please consult your physician for information pertaining to your testing.