Electrophysiology studies the heart's electrical activity. Electrophysiological techniques are used to establish a diagnosis but also as a treatment, for example in the case of heart arrhythmias.
An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist specialising in the electrical activities of the heart. The heart will not be able to correctly pump blood through the body unless its electrical conduction system works as it should.
During the electrophysiological examination, the electrophysiologist will examine which heart arrhythmia the patient is suffering from and will also try to find the location of the problem. This examination is carried out in the cath lab and is a minimally invasive procedure. This is not an operation in other words.
Like the interventional cardiologist an electrophysiologist only needs a few thin wires or catheters to do his or her job.
The catheters are inserted through an artery in the groin in order to reach the heart. The electrophysiologist uses the catheters to measure the heart's electrical activity on the one hand and on the other to regulate the heart beat, much like a pacemaker.
Thanks to these measurements and the pacing the electrophysiologist can establish the type and location of the arrhythmia.
This may be followed by a treatment to remove the cause of the problem. This technique is called ablation.<top>