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Heart & Vascular Institute




What is electrophysiology and pacing (EP)?

Electrophysiology and pacing involve the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), including atrial fibrillation.

Why do people have electrophysiology studies?

When someone’s heart doesn’t beat normally, doctors use electrophysiology studies to find out why. Heart attacks, aging, high blood pressure, congenital defects, and other factors may cause your heart to beat abnormally fast or slow.

EP studies assess the electrical conduction system of the heart. A physician specially trained in electrophysiology places small catheters through blood vessels into the heart to identify rhythm problems. The results help physicians determine the best treatment options.

How are arrhythmias treated?

Depending on your arrhythmia type, treatment options could include medicine (or a change in medication), a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or cardiac ablation.

EP procedures take place in the state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab on the second floor of Lancaster General Hospital.

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  • You may be asked to come to the hospital the day before your procedure to be seen in our EP Clinic. A registered nurse will perform or coordinate all of your preadmission testing including lab studies, X-rays, EKG’s, Transesophageal echocardiograms and CT scans. The nurse will also perform a pre-sedation evaluation and provide you and your family with patient teaching regarding your procedure. Any pre-procedure skin cleansing preparation that is required can also be given to you at that time.  

    The day of your procedure, you will arrive at the hospital via James Street and park in the James Street Parking Garage. From the garage, you will go to the second floor of the hospital and to the Medical Outpatient Unit (MOPU). Any last minute lab studies or testing that is required will be performed at this time. You will be asked to change your clothing and an intravenous line (IV) will be started. When the facilitators of your procedure confirm that you and the EP lab is ready, you will be taken to the Invasive Cardiology Pre/Post area where you will be prepared for the procedure. This includes shaving, pre-op medication administration if that is ordered, etc. Your doctor may meet you in the pre/post area to complete medical paperwork and mark the surgical site if necessary.

    From the pre/post area, you will proceed to the procedure room. You can expect a slightly cooler room than normal, due to the sensitive X-ray equipment that is used for procedures. The team can use warming blankets on you if needed during the procedure. Once on the procedure table, the staff will ask questions that will identify you and your procedure to ensure safe and accurate care. The team will attach numerous patches, pads, sensors and wires to you for monitoring and assess your vital signs during the procedure. We will then begin your sedation. For the majority of our patients, this is the last thing you will recall of the procedure.

    Upon completion of your procedure, there may motion restrictions of your arms or legs depending on the type of procedure you have performed. After the procedure is complete, you will be returned to the pre-post area or the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) if you had anesthesia for your procedure. From there, you will either be admitted to the hospital or returned to the MOPU for discharge.



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