A Tour of Our Electrophysiology (EP) Lab
You probably haven’t seen an electrophysiology or EP lab. You may not even be able to picture it. It’s different from the operating rooms you may have been treated in or seen on TV for other surgeries. EP labs are some of the most technologically advanced operating theaters in all medicine. And there’s a good reason for that. Electrophysiology is about detecting and treating errant electrical signals in the heart. These signals cannot be seen and can only be measured with advanced instrumentation. No wonder EP labs, even at the largest of hospitals, open with great fanfare.
We use the monitor array to visualize the heart and its electrical signals. We thread a spaghetti-like catheter up a vein from the groin to the heart using advanced ultrasound technology. The imaging guides the catheter to minimize potential damage to the blood vessel or the heart itself and eventually brings us to the appropriate area of the heart. Advanced technology built into the tip of the catheter allows us to map the heart in three dimensions. We can see the structures of the heart while also seeing the electrical signals in real-time. This is a true game-changer in the treatment of arrhythmias because it allows us, with great precision, to find the source of the electrical disturbance and ablate it using advanced technology. This can all be done almost immediately after detecting it. Not only that, but the real-time nature of the mapping technology lets us see the outcome immediately.
Advanced catheter technology has eliminated many more invasive surgeries. We would have to open the patient’s chest to access the heart and surrounding blood vessels. The catheter has multiple uses, both in a diagnostic and treatment capacity. The specialized catheters create the three-dimensional image you saw above while also allowing for the deployment of heat or cold technology to perform the ablation. These flexible and precise catheters make cardiac catheter ablation very safe and effective.
Of course, who can have an electrophysiological procedure without the EP? An electrophysiologist is a specialized cardiologist who has completed additional electrophysiology specialization after their cardiovascular training. Becoming an EP is intense but ultimately very rewarding.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the quick tour of our EP lab, and while we hope to help you prevent heart disease and conditions, if you have a cardiac arrhythmia, you know that you have the best team with the best equipment at your disposal. Feel free to contact our office and schedule a consultation. We look forward to offering you the highest quality of EP care.