The treatment for abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, varies depending on whether the primary issue is a heart rhythm that is too fast or too slow.
In cases of fast heart rhythms, initial management may include lifestyle changes such as limiting caffeine or alcohol intake, regulating sleep patterns, and reducing stress, which can alleviate symptoms in some cases. Medications, such as beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, and other anti-arrhythmic drugs, may be prescribed to regulate the heart rhythm.
In certain cases, an invasive procedure called an Electrophysiology Study (EPS) may be recommended to understand the mechanism of these abnormal rhythms. This is often followed by a Catheter Ablation (CA) procedure to modify or eradicate the cause of fast heart rhythms.
What is electrophysiology study (EPS)?
An electrophysiology study (EPS) is an invasive procedure used to study the electrical properties of the heart in a bid to locate the sites of abnormal electrical activity. It is a minimally invasive procedure which involves inserting electrical wires, called catheters, through the blood vessels at the groin to different parts of the heart to study its electrical properties. This process usually lasts 1-2 hours but some complicated procedures requiring additional mapping systems may take longer. If abnormal rhythms are identified, a catheter ablation procedure may be offered.
Catheter ablation is a procedure to eradicate an abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, by modifying or eliminating the abnormal electrical pathway or focus that causes it. It is often performed as part of an Electrophysiology Study (EPS). A special catheter that delivers energy, which can be in the form of radiofrequency (heat), cryo-thermal (freezing) or pulsed-field (electrical) energy, is manipulated to the site where the abnormal electrical signals are located and energy is delivered to these areas to eradicate or modify it to stop the arrhythmia from recurring. The procedure usually takes about 2-3 hours.